China & Pakistan: Diplomacy of an Entente Cordiale

By Anwar Hussain Syed | Go to book overview

Five
China and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965

In August 1965, sporadic fighting broke out between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. 1 Then on the morning of September 6, 1965, the Indian army invaded West Pakistan, directing its attack at Lahore, the provincial capital, located about fifteen miles from the border and regarded by many, including its own two million citizens, as the "heart" of Pakistan. As is customary on such occasions, many foreign government leaders deplored the fighting and expressed the hope that it would shortly cease. Some took sides. Of Pakistan's allies, Iran and Turkey supported her vigorously, as did such others as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. But of all of Pakistan's supporters, China spoke the loudest. She gave Pakistan unqualified moral support and, at the same time, threatened India with "grave consequences" for allegedly violating Chinese territory along the Sikkim border. Her policy created widespread apprehension of a general war in Asia. By linking the Sino-Indian and the Indo-Pakistan conflicts, the Chinese fostered a sense of urgency among the powers about terminating the Indo- Pakistan war.

Chinese diplomacy produced other significant results: it inhibited some of the great powers, especially the Soviet Union, from siding openly with India and from putting as much pressure upon Pakistan as they might otherwise have been inclined to do; it contributed, intentionally or inadvertently, to bringing about a ceasefire on terms acceptable to Pakistan; and it made a deep and longlasting impression on Pakistani public opinion, giving it a distinctly pro-Chinese disposition.

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