“When Pakistan invaded India, one of my friend Commander-in-chief Gen Chaudhuri, asked permission of PM Nehru to counter attack as being defensive wouldn’t help. That’s a simple military strategy; if you are defensive you are already defeated. The best way is to be aggressive.” This was a tweet by filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, which has now been deleted.
Agnihotri was ostensibly referring to the India-Pakistan war of 1965. “Commander in chief Gen Chaudhuri” is a reference to General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri who was the chief of Army staff from 1962 to 1966. The tweet, a screenshot of which is posted above, was the first of a series of tweets in which Agnihotri lashed out at former Prime Minister Nehru for adopting a defensive strategy in the wake of Pakistani aggression. The entire thread now stands deleted.
According to Agnihotri, Nehru not only vacillated at a moment when the chief of Army staff was insistent on opening new fronts in the war, but ordered his general to stop when the latter opened up a new front in Punjab, and was barely 15 miles away from Lahore.
The India-Pakistan war of 1965 commenced in August-September that year. The trigger for the conflict was Operation Gibraltar by the Pakistani army, in which the Pakistani army regulars disguised as locals infiltrated into Kashmir in large numbers with the hope of fomenting rebellion in the state and subsequently annexing it.
The 1965, which was fought across three sectors- Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan, ended with Pakistan failing to secure its objective of fomenting insurrection in Kashmir. The conflict took a decisive turn when Indian troops opened up a new front in the Punjab, threatening to capture of Lahore, before a ceasefire was announced.
Who was the Prime Minister in 1965?
The prime minister of India in August-September 1965 when the war broke out, was Lal Bahadur Shastri. This is the stuff of elementary knowledge and can be easily accessed on the internet. The Prime Minister’s Office website lists theprime ministers who have served India since Independence. Jawaharlal Nehru had died in May 1964. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri.
This article first appeared on AltNews.in.