Defense Day, Imbibing the Spirit of 1965 War
Every year September 6 is celebrated as the defense day to pay tribute to the Pakistani soldiers who defeated India in the 1965 war.
Military thinkers agree that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the will to fight or moral force which determines the outcome of war. Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon.”
In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die”. The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. Moral force, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.
During the 1965 war such elements like will to fight and moral force have been more found in the personnel of Pakistan’s Armed Forces then those of India.
When, on September 6, 1965, India started the war, and its forces crossed the international border, on the western front in Lahore, Pakistan’s Armed Forces quickly responded. Indian Regiment had also crossed the BRB canal and captured the town of Batapore (Jallo Mur). The same day, a counter offensive by Pakistanis soldiers, consisting of an armoured division and infantry division forced the Indian 15th Division to withdraw to its starting point. In this regard, the huge credit goes to the all men of Pak Army, who were deployed in the Lahore areas of Wahgah, Burki etc. Without bothering for their lives, they fought bravely. Among them, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti played a huge role in the outcome of the Lahore battles and was martyred (Shaheed).
Similarly, in case of Sialkot, several soldiers of the Pak Army sacrificed their lives to stop advancement of Indian tanks. The 1965 war witnessed some of the largest tank battles since World War II, and was fought at Chawinda in Sialkot sector—The Battle of Chawinda resulted into victory of Pakistan whose armoured forces destroyed 120 tanks of India.
As regards aerial warfare between Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Indian Air Force (IAF), the latter emerged as victorious in the I965 war because, at the cost of their personal safety, the personnel of Pakistan Air Force defeated India. During that war, PAF had destroyed 100 Indian aircraft on ground and in the air, while damaged more than 10—not counting the undermined losses inflicted by PAF’s night bombing. In this regard, Squadron Leader M. M. Alam set new records in history of air warfare on 7th September by defending Pakistan’s airspace, and shot down five Indian aircraft in less than sixty seconds at Sargodha.
In relation to the sacrificing spirit, let us take the example of Flight Lieutenant Yunus Hussain who fought in air battles fearlessly. During one such engagement, he fought singly against 6 enemy aircraft and shot down 2 Hunters. On 6 September, while attacking Halwara airfield, his small formation was intercepted by a large number of enemy, and although his aircraft was hit, he refused to break off the engagement by disregarding his personal safety, and was martyred.
The role of Pakistan Navy in the Indo-Pak war of 1965 is also appreciable. Securing Pakistan’s coasts, it played a vital role in defeating India. The Operation Dawarka marked was launched by Pakistan on September 7. Indian town of Dwarka was chosen to be a target of the attack. The Pakistani operation was successful and its warships harboured in Bombay, making the Indian Navy unable to sortie. In this context, Ghazi, the only submarine successfully attacked heavy ships of the Indian Navy, aiding Operation Dwarka.
However, there were many national heroes like Brigadier Ahsan Rashid, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, SQN LDR M. M. Alam, SQN LDR Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui etc. who fought courageously with the Indian forces.
In fact, it was due to the moral force that despite Indian surprise invasion in 1965 and the qualitative and numerical superiority over Pakistan, while showing courage, and by sacrificing their lives, the Pakistani forces not only recaptured the territories from India, but also took Khem Karan from Indian forces including various regions of Rajastan, Sindh, and Chumb in Kashmir. Indian defeat was owing to demoralization of its soldiers.
By imbibing the same spirit of the 1965 war, Pakistan’s Armed Forces during the successful military operation, Zarb-e-Azb compelled Taliban to retreat from North Waziristan Agency. Notably, since June 15, 2014, the jets of Pakistan Air Force have bombed militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan, and killed thousands of insurgents including foreign militants, while Pak Army has also killed several terrorists through ground offensive and many of them surrendered before the Army. And during street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives, and by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the Taliban supply routes and links.
Operation, Zarb-e-Azb which has been extended to other tribal area and provinces of Pakistan, including Karachi is obtaining its objectives rapidly, as the Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the militants.
While addressing a ceremony of the golden jubilee celebrations of the 1965 war, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel said on September 6, last year that the operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched at a time when terrorist networks had solidified in the country. But, “our success is the result of our martyrs and ghazis—in Karachi and Balochistan, peace has returned, where militants have been surrendering their arms.”
Nonetheless, either it was the Indo-Pak war of 1965 or the present different war against the militants; it was owing to the superior moral force of sacrificing their own lives, noted in Pakistan’s soldiers, which caused demoralization among Indian forces and the Taliban—resulting into victory of the guardians of the country in both cases.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations