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Kashmir: The Troubled Waters – September 17, 1965 – ABC Radio Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The Kashmir conflict was a territorial dispute over the Kashmir region, primarily between India and Pakistan, with China playing a third-party role. The conflict started after the partition of India in 1947 as both India and Pakistan claimed the entirety of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a dispute over the region that escalated into three wars between India and Pakistan and several other armed skirmishes. India controls approximately 55% of the land area of the region that includes Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, most of Ladakh, the Siachen Glacier, and 70% of its population; Pakistan controls approximately 35% of the land area that includes Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan; and China controls the remaining 20% of the land area that includes the Aksai Chin region, the mostly uninhabited Trans-Karakoram Tract, and part of the Demchok sector. After the partition of India and a rebellion in the western districts of the state, Pakistani tribal militias invaded Kashmir, leading the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir to join India. The resulting Indo-Pakistani War ended with a UN-mediated ceasefire along a line that was eventually named the Line of Control.
Following its failure to seize Kashmir in 1947, Pakistan supported numerous ‘covert cells’ in Kashmir using operatives based in its New Delhi embassy. After its military pact with the United States in the 1950s, it intensively studied guerrilla warfare through engagement with the US military. In 1965, it decided that the conditions were ripe for a successful guerilla war in Kashmir. Code named ‘Operation Gibraltar’, companies were dispatched into Indian-administered Kashmir, the majority of whose members were razakars (volunteers) and mujahideen recruited from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and trained by the Army. These irregular forces were supported by officers and men from the paramilitary Northern Light Infantry and Azad Kashmir Rifles as well as commandos from the Special Services Group. About 30,000 infiltrators are estimated to have been dispatched in August 1965 as part of the ‘Operation Gibraltar’.
The plan was for the infiltrators to mingle with the local populace and incite them to rebellion. Meanwhile, guerilla warfare would commence, destroying bridges, tunnels and highways, as well as Indian Army installations and airfields, creating conditions for an ‘armed insurrection’ in Kashmir. If the attempt failed, Pakistan hoped to have raised international attention to the Kashmir issue. Using the newly acquired sophisticated weapons through the American arms aid, Pakistan believed that it could achieve tactical victories in a quick limited war.
However, the ‘Operation Gibraltar’ ended in failure as the Kashmiris did not revolt. Instead, they turned in infiltrators to the Indian authorities in substantial numbers, and the Indian Army ended up fighting the Pakistani Army regulars. Pakistan claimed that the captured men were Kashmiri ‘freedom fighters’, a claim contradicted by the international media. On 1 September, Pakistan launched an attack across the Cease Fire Line, targeting Akhnoor in an effort to cut Indian communications into Kashmir. In response, India broadened the war by launching an attack on Pakistani Punjab across the international border. The war lasted until 23 September, ending in a stalemate. Following the Tashkent Agreement, both the sides withdrew to their pre-conflict positions, and agreed not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.
Here is a broadcast report, via ABC Radio News on the status of the conflict, as it was heard on September 17. 1965.
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