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Chronology of India-Pakistan Wars

By Staff

India and Pakistan are currently in the spotlight as the two countries threaten to go to war with each other. However, this is not the first time the rivals, who both gained independence from Britain in 1947, butted heads.

The first war between India and Pakistan was fought from 1947 to 1948 and resulted in about 1,500 deaths. This war was over control of Kashmir, which, to this day, is disputed territory. Eventually a ceasefire was agreed upon via United Nations mediation and the war ended in January 1949 with a promise to Kashmiris that they will choose about their future.

The second war was also fought over Kashmir and began on Pakistan's eighteenth birthday in 1965. Kahsmiri protests against Indian rule broke out following the theft of a sacred relic in Srinagar. In June that year, many Pakistanis entered Kashmir as a gesture of support. India branded this action infiltration and Indian army attacked to capture Pakistanis city of Lahore. Fighting broke out in early September, but the United Nations called for a ceasefire on September 20, to which both sides agreed to two days later. In this war, India suffered about 3,000 casualties and Pakistan about 3,800. After the ceasefire, a meeting between the Indian prime minister and the Pakistani president was held in Tashkent in Central Asia to negotiate a settlement. Both agreed to return to their original borders but the underlying causes of the Kashmir dispute were never resolved.

The split between East and West Pakistan was the result of the third war between India and Pakistan. After Pakistan held nationwide elections in December 1970, the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujiber Rehman won an overwhelming majority in East Pakistan, the Pakistan People's Party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won in West Pakistan. However, talks to decide how the two wings of the country would share power broke down two months later and resulted in East Pakistanis pushing for more independence. In response, the Pakistani army cracked down on Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan, leading to hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into the adjacent Indian State of West Bengal from East Pakistan.

India supported the separatist movement with arms and then finally attacked East Pakistan defeating Pakistan resulting in the creation of Bangladesh.

Although this was three were the official war between the two countries, there have been other recent instances where India and Pakistan have come very close to the same.

The Rann of Kutch: April 1965
A clash between border patrols erupted into fighting in the Rann of Kutch, a region along the south-western Indo-Pakistani border. India was forced to retreat after intense fighting, Pakistan claimed victory.

Siachen Glacier 1984
The 6,000-meter high Siachen Glacier is the highest battlefield in the world. It is located in the Karakoram Range System of Kashmir near the India - Pakistan border, beyond the stern end of the Line of Control that defines Kashmir. Pakistan controlled the area but in 1984, the Indian army arrived early in spring to capture the unmened Pakistani side as well. Since then hundreds have died, less from bullets but more from the harsh climate of the mountains in an effort from Pakistan to defend territory. Musharraf has said that any settlement on Siachen depends on a solution to Kashmir as whole. Daily, it costs India $10 million and Pakistan $5 million to maintain their troops for the battle here.

Kargil May 1999
In May 1999, Kashmiri freedom fighters mounted into the Indian-controlled Kargil region of Kashmir. The resulting battle led to India loosing thousands of soldiers, according to US military intelligence.

Pakistan forced the Kashmiri freedom fighters to withdraw under American pressure, but the incursion successfully brought back world attention to the issue of Kashmir, which had been almost forgotten. India accused Pakistan of planning the infiltration which may be true since the nature of the capture was exactly the same as Siachen Glacier, capturing a position which is traditionally not monitored during the winter from any side.

Date/Time Last Modified: 6/18/2002 8:05:48 AM

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