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Declassified US documents indicate it backed India on Kashmir in 1965

Washington: The US in 1965 had supported India's stand that there should be no plebiscite in Kashmir, declassified US documents of the era indicate.  At the peak of the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the then Prime

PTI Updated on: August 27, 2015 14:33 IST

As Pakistan was fast running out of ammunition, US feared that any delay in ceasefire would put Pakistan at a disadvantage position and could be very well run over by a strong Indian Army, which was moving fast inside the Pakistan side of Punjab.

Even at this stage, both Ayub Khan and Bhutto insisted that US should exert pressure on India for a plebiscite in Kashmir or else America would be considered an enemy of Pakistan.

Four days after Indian forces successfully entered Pakistani Punjab, McConaughy met Bhutto with a ceasefire proposal so as to protect the territorial integrity of Pakistan.

Referring to his conversation with Bhutto in Rawalpindi, McConaughty wrote in a cable that the Pakistan foreign minister conceded that because of India opening the battle front in Punjab, attrition was already becoming a problem for the Pakistani forces and attrition would soon have a ruinous effect on the country's ability to defend itself if US decision not reversed.

“(Bhutto) said Pakistan would fight on to finish with sticks and stones and with bare hands if necessary, but their ability to hold back Indian attack would be vitally undermined by this US blow (of imposing arms sanctions),” the US diplomat wrote to the State Department.

“GOP (government of Pakistan) would now be even less inclined than before to accept proposals which would not contain assured provision for withdrawal of Indian armed forces from Kashmir and exercise of self-determination right by Kashmiris. Pakistan would not respond to the kind of pressure inherent in the US action,” Bhutto insisted.  McConaughty told Bhutto that such a decision by Pakistan was not sensible.

“I told Bhutto it seemed to us that GOP was refusing to abandon the resort to force unless it attained in advance full agreement to its basic objectives as to Kashmir. It was not sensible to assume that this most intractable of world issues that has defied all solution efforts for 18 years could be settled now by the attachment of a Pakistani-prescribed rider to a ceasefire agreement,” he wrote.

“He (Bhutto) said the Pakistanis would sell all their possessions, even their family heirlooms in order to get the means to continue the struggle until the Indian invasion repulsed and Kashmiri rights established.  On September 9, the Ambassador met Bhutto with the unconditional ceasefire proposal.

Bhutto rejected and said any ceasefire proposal has to be linked with a plebiscite in Kashmir.

“Ceasefire must form part of final Kashmir settlement along lines: a) India and Pakistan vacate territory, b) UN administration of law and order for period approximately six months, c) plebiscite within precisely stipulated time.  Without that there can be no solution,” Bhutto said according to the document.

“I said India not able to agree to that now and Bhutto responded, ‘Then let them destroy Pakistan!'” “Bhutto said ‘People of Kashmir alone must decide, and no solution is complete without people of Kashmir expressing right of self-determination. This is battle of survival for Pakistan. We must be either degraded as nation or prevail. We prepared fight to finish,” McConaughty wrote in his telegram.  As India was on the verge of capturing Lahore, Bhutto according to the telegram, told the US envoy: “You cannot destroy...people and their spirit by one battle in Lahore.”

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