Why India failed to solve the Kashmir Problem even after getting opportunities
Three times India failed to solve the Kashmir Problem even after getting opportunities, and everything was in the favor of India except International support.
The Kashmir conflict is probably the biggest blunder for all the political parties who were once in the power as no one was able to solve even though we have the 2nd most powerful military in the Asia (4th in the world) and the most unfortunate thing is India got not only one but also three chances to resolve the matter. The situations were in our favor, and we could do everything as per our wish but be it the strategic failure or bad luck, we failed to resolve it, and still, we are suffering for this. Whereas our enemy gifted some part that they forcefully occupied from us to another as a sign of their friendship and we have no other option except watching it silently. Here is Why India failed to solve the Kashmir Problem even after getting opportunities.
The story of the 1965 war that remains a mystery forever
It is not unknown that the 1965 war caused a massive damage to Pakistan and chances of losing the half of the land was high but thanks to their luck; India obliged the international rules and agreed to step back. During the war, the United Kingdom openly supported Pakistan, and the US became neutral and stopped supplying weapons to Pakistan despite having an agreement with Pakistan because of the Chinese support and even threatened to China to stay out of the war. The same USA supplied the F-104 and the F-86 Sabres in free of cost to Pakistan before the war and denied to sell it to India even after the personal request from the then Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan. It was difficult for India to avoid the international pressure at that time as both the US and Russia were trying to resolve the matter and not to mention about the personal inputs of the then UN chief U Thant. Apart from this, a misunderstanding about the lack of ammunition might force the leaders not to go advance. It’s still a mystery why Shastri agreed to return the areas occupied by Indian Army during the war however according to some analysis he might hope that due to the USSR interference, Pakistan won’t start an armed conflict in the future and will resolve the Kashmir issue as soon as possible but it’s just a speculation, and no one knows the truth. Though most of the army veterans expressed their disappointment later regarding the government decision, still there is no way to know the real reason, and so many questions left unanswered after the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death.
1971 became more complicated
Indira Gandhi and Sam Manekshaw did a great job in the 1971 war, however, capturing 93000 soldiers were not enough to resolve the Kashmir issue, and India had to fix the issue as soon as possible. While India successfully captured Pakistani soldiers and divided Pakistan into two pieces, the leader of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was in the custody of ISI, and they could kill him at any moment. His execution would be the diplomatic failure for India and Indira Gandhi wanted him to save at any cost no matter what, and whether it was good luck for India or the internal pressure from ISI, General Yahya Khan resigned, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto elected as the head of Pakistan. This time Indira Gandhi did not want to lose the opportunities and put her all efforts to convince Bhutto to cancel Mujibur Rahman’s execution. Though later Bhutto paid the price by going against the wish of ISI however that time he also forced to oblige Indira’s request as their soldiers were under India’s custody. Even though USSR supported India, the rest of the world (Read USA and its allies) were supporting Pakistan and if India would force Pakistan to step back from Kashmir; it could increase diplomatic pressure on USSR on the international level, and India had no one to support in this matter. That ultimately forced Indira Gandhi to exclude Kashmir issue in Shimla agreement, and at the same time 93000 war prisoners became a burden for India, and that’s the reason even after winning we failed to fix the problem which became more complicated now.
Rajiv Gandhi opposed USSR
Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi at Huis ten Bosch palace
When USSR was planning to overthrow Pakistan dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq during the cold war era, Rajiv Gandhi opposed the move as he did not want the interference of both USA and Russia in Asia. He had a clear message that if USSR goes against Pakistan, India will support anti-Moscow force in Pakistan according to a declassified CIA document. Russia wanted to warn India about the nuclear ambition of Pakistan and on the other side, it also wanted to make its position strong in Asia through India-Pakistan conflict and increase India’s dependency on Moscow.
The move was a political misunderstanding between both Moscow and India as Gandhi considered Pakistan as a strategic partner in Asia to dominate outsider interference. He also tried to reduce India’s dependency on Russia and also concerned about the Soviet ambition to extend its move beyond Afghanistan. Here India forced to think beyond Kashmir because maybe the issue would resolve at that time whereas the aftermath would be against us.