Pivotal Deterrence: Third-Party Statecraft and the Pursuit of Peace

By Timothy W. Crawford | Go to book overview

[6]

Playing the Pivot in a Crowded Market:
THE UNITED STATES AND THE
KASHMIR CONFLICT, 1962-65

Pakistan-Indian bitterness makes it extraordinarily difficult to keep good relations with both . . . we could never fully support the policy goals of either India or Pakistan.

Dean Rusk, U.S. Secretary of State, September 1965

Our policy in regard to India and Pakistan is leading us up a dead end street in both countries.

Chester Bowles, U.S. ambassador to India, May 1965

When India and Pakistan went to war over Kashmir in the summer of 1965, an ailing U.S. policy of pivotal deterrence went up in smoke. The war began quietly on 5 August, as a few thousand Pakistani guerillas crossed the 1948 cease-fire line (CFL) into Indian controlled Kashmir, in a fruitless attempt to incite a Muslim uprising. On August 15 and 24, India struck back across the CFL, cutting off the infiltration routes. With its guerillas trapped in Kashmir, Pakistan escalated. On 1 September, Pakistani armor drove into Kashmir through the seam joining the CFL and the international boundary between India and Pakistan and threatened to cut communications between Kashmir and India. India counterattacked across the international border in Punjab, forcing Pakistan to draw back in Kashmir. Once the war bogged down, India accepted a UN-backed cease-fire on 21 September, as did Pakistan the next day. 1

The conflict almost triggered a wider war in South Asia. On 27 August,

-135-

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