The Central government is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war between India and Pakistan with a month-long series of events that began on August 28, 2015 and will conclude on September 26, 2015. Massive jingoism and chauvinism is being whipped up through the electronic and print media using the occasion.
The Nawaz Sharif government of Pakistan has expressed its concern at the jingoism being promoted by the Modi government over the war, as a sign that the Indian government is not serious about resolving the outstanding problems between the two countries peacefully. The Pakistani state has been observing September 6 every year as Defence of Pakistan Day. It may be noted that the Nawaz Sharif government has stopped marking this day as a holiday, as part of its efforts at rapprochement with India.
The 1965 war ended on September 22, 1965 with India and Pakistan accepting a UN Security Council sponsored resolution calling for ceasefire. India declared war against Pakistan on September 5, 1965. However, actual incidents leading up to the war had begun much earlier. An undeclared war was waged in Kashmir through August 1965. August 28, 1965 was the day when the Indian Army captured the Haji Pir Pass in Kashmir.
The ceasefire was followed by the Tashkent Peace Treaty signed in January 1966 between the leaders of India and Pakistan in the Soviet Union. As per the terms of the agreement, both agreed to withdraw their armies to their pre-war borders, and restore diplomatic relations. In military terms, the Indo-Pak war of 1965 has been widely regarded as a “stale-mate”. However, the Indian state is actively rewriting history, declaring the war as a “great victory”. The question arises, what is the aim of the Indian state in organizing these celebrations at this time?
The context of the 1965 war
The 1965 war was a reactionary war which the ruling classes of India and Pakistan waged to advance their own narrow interests. In 1965, the Kashmiri people, discontented with their conditions in the Indian Union, had risen in revolt. The Indian ruling class crushed this revolt of the Kashmiri people by evoking the danger to “national unity and territorial integrity” posed by Pakistan. Pakistan, on the other hand, wanted to exploit the revolt of the Kashmiri people to justify its claim to Kashmir. The 1965 Indo Pak war was waged to settle the contesting claims over Kashmir by force of arms. It settled nothing.
India and Pakistan have fought two more wars — the 1971 War and the Kargil War. Both countries claim that Kashmir belongs to them. 50 years after the 1965 war, it is clear that the Indian state is enforcing its writ over Kashmir only through army rule. The ruling class of India does not care and has never cared one bit for the people of Kashmir or their aspirations. Its approach to the people of Kashmir has been colonial and imperialist.
The hostility of the rulers of India and Pakistan towards each other is a legacy of 1947. The British colonialists organized the bloody partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947, in order to prevent the Indian people from carrying out a thorough going revolution that would ensure a clean break with colonialism and imperialism. The diabolical plan of the British imperialists was to ensure that South Asia remained a base for counter revolution in Asia. Towards this end, the imperialists have consistently played India and Pakistan against each other. Both countries were armed by the imperialists. Pakistan was encouraged to join US led military alliances such as SEATO and CENTO in the mid-fifties. India was egged on by the US imperialists against China, which led to the 1962 war between India and China.
During the 1965 war, both the governments of India and Pakistan complained about each other to the US and the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the two countries and called for a ceasefire.
Indo-Pak relations in the period of the Cold War and after
The 1965 war took place during the Cold War when the Soviet Union had transformed from a socialist country into a social-imperialist country, colluding and contending with the US for world domination.
After the Tashkent agreement, both US and Soviet Union increased their role in the subcontinent. The US and the Soviet Union became the principle suppliers of arms to Pakistan and India respectively. India and the Soviet Union signed the Indo-Soviet military treaty in August 1971. This was followed by the 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the dismemberment of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. That war was followed by the Shimla agreement between India and Pakistan. Throughout the period of the Cold War, the two superpowers played India and Pakistan against each other, with the aim of advancing their own imperialist interests.
After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US imperialists have been playing India and Pakistan against each other, while pretending to be brokering peace between them. Their aim is not only to advance their interests in South Asia, but also to ensure that the ruling classes of these two countries dovetail their strategies to those of the US imperialists.
The relations between India and Pakistan in periods between wars can best be described as “no War, no peace”. The periods of “no war” are but a prelude to, i.e. a period of preparation for, war. Even during these “no war” periods, there are almost daily reports of skirmishes between troops of the two countries at the borders, accompanied with shrill jingoist venom, spouted by the government and the media. This is the situation today too, 50 years after the 1965 war.
The warmongering propaganda against Pakistan, accompanied by the constant threat of war, has served our ruling class, time and again, to divert the attention of our people from the real problems facing them, the attacks by our ruling class on their livelihood and rights. It has helped the Indian bourgeoisie to line up the working class, peasants and all toiling people behind its imperialist aims, to justify state terrorism the attacks on the rights of the people in the name of defending “national unity and territorial integrity” from the threat of Pakistan.
India in the US imperialist strategy
With the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago, the US, the sole remaining superpower, has been pursuing the course of trying to establish its unrivalled domination over the whole world, in the current century. To achieve its aims, it has been waging both covert and overt wars against sovereign peoples and countries. It has sponsored terrorist groups worldwide to spread chaos, anarchy and violence, weaken and discredit regimes in various countries, in order to justify fascism at home and war abroad. It has justified military invasions followed by regime change under various slogans, such as “war against terrorism”, “defence of democracy” and “defence of human rights”. Part of its imperialist strategy has been to convince the peoples of world that the main danger to peace, to the sovereignty of peoples and countries, is “Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism”.
At the present time, the US is pursuing its “Asia pivot policy”. The conquest of Asia is seen by the US as a prelude to its conquest of the world. Towards this end, it is egging India to join a military alliance under its leadership that would include Japan, Australia and some South East Asian countries, with the aim of encircling China. Japan has been openly militarizing with US encouragement under its current regime.
The Indian big bourgeoisie has always harbored imperialist ambitions. Since the end of the Cold War, these ambitions have seen a great impetus. It wants to carve out its own sphere of influence in the ongoing battle for the re-division of the world. It is excited by the prospects of challenging China, and it is pursuing the “Look East policy” in coordination with the US to counter China in the Asia Pacific region. The Indian bourgeoisie looks at the Indian Ocean as its “sphere of influence” and towards this end it is building up its naval power and coordinating with the US to patrol the Indian Ocean from the Straits of Malacca to the Red Sea and the East Coast of Africa. It is seeking to build up its economic and political relations with several states in West Asia, with the aim of advancing its strategic interests in that region. In sum, it wants to build up its military might to back its strategic investments in Asia and Africa.
The Indian bourgeoisie has always spread communal poison about people of the Muslim faith. For the past two decades, it has carried out deafening propaganda about “Islamic terrorism” and cross border terrorism. The worldwide propaganda unleashed by the US imperialists against people of the Muslim faith has suited the Indian bourgeoisie in its communal and fascist attacks targeted on the people of the Muslim faith, and in whipping up anti Pakistan hysteria.
Growing militarisation — part of imperialist strategy
The Indian Armed Forces are already one of the biggest armed forces of the world, next only to those of China and the US. India is the world’s largest importer of military arsenal. Keeping in mind its own strategic interests, the Indian bourgeoisie is not tying up to any one imperialist country as far as sourcing of sophisticated arms is concerned. The imperialist ambitions of the Indian bourgeoisie are now translating themselves into the establishment of a military-industrial complex in India.
Until recently, the major proportion of the production of military equipment was in the public sector defence undertakings. This is now being changed. Successive governments have been opening up the defence production sector to the private players. Already, big Indian monopolies, notably companies such as the Tatas, L&T, Reliance (Mukesh Ambani group), Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharat Forge, have entered this field. The latest entrant is Reliance ADAG of the Anil Ambani group, who has applied for licenses to build helicopters, aerospace systems, spacecraft, weapons and ammunition systems.
The decision of the current government to allow 49% FDI in Defence is aimed at enabling the Indian big bourgeoisie to become major players, both in the supply of arms to the Indian Armed Forces, as well as in the international arms market. According to reports, perhaps the only sector of the economy which has seen a surge in investments since the “Make in India” slogan was given is the sector of defence production. This is natural. Here is a sector where the capitalists and foreign arms producers are being assured a guaranteed market by the Indian state!
The bourgeoisie is raising jingoistic propaganda on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war, and cloaking its imperialist motives with “patriotism”. It is deliberately militarising our economy, in conditions of a world wide economic crisis, because it sees militarization, fascisation and war as the road to crush the aspirations of the workers and peasants of our country and achieve big power status. The burden of the ever-growing military expenditure falls upon the toiling people of the country. It is our soldiers who will have to give up their lives for the wars organized by the big bourgeoisie and the imperialists.
If there is one thing to be learnt from the 1965 Indo Pak War and other wars in which the Indian state has participated in, it is the necessity to make a clean break with the legacy of colonialism and imperialism. However, the course being pursued by the Indian state is one of strengthening the colonial legacy of partition, and strengthening the imperialist domination of South Asia.
This bourgeoisie is a thoroughly traitorous class. It does not care for our people or for the sovereignty of our country, but only for its moneybags. It is terrified at the prospect of the working class and toiling peasantry of our country uniting around one program, taking the anti capitalist, anti feudal, anti colonial and anti imperialist revolution to completion. This is why it deliberately keeps the wounds of partition alive, inflicting new wounds daily. This is why it constantly smashes the unity of the toiling masses on a communal basis, and whips up chauvinism and war hysteria against Pakistan.
It is the duty of all patriotic and peace-loving people to expose and oppose the war mongering and militarization being carried out in the service of the narrow interests of the big capitalists and imperialists. We must oppose the strategic military alliance of India with the US and other imperialist powers. We must fight to throw the imperialists out of this region. We must resolutely expose and oppose the constant attempts of the rulers of India and Pakistan to whip up chauvinist hysteria and hurl the peoples into another tragic war. We must fight for close and friendly relations with the peoples of Pakistan and other neighboring countries.