It was thanks to Nehru’s wrong decision that ‘Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’ (PoK) came into existence, when the Indian army was on the verge of getting the whole of J&K vacated. Let’s look at the two concrete cases from among the many feats of daring and bravery by the Indian army.
Pakistani raiders’ determined bid to occupy Ladakh was frustrated by the superior Indian strategy of airlifting troops to Leh. Air Commodore Mehar Chand flew his plane amazingly to 23,000 feet above sea-level—without oxygen—on an unchartered course to land his plane, with troops, at Leh at the height of about 12000 feet!

Another daring feat was that of Major-General Thimayya. He took his tanks to a height of about 12000 feet on the snow-capped Zojila Pass— something unique in history, as nobody had taken tanks to such heights and in such hazardous conditions before—and routed the enemy, destroying all enemy bunkers.

Incidentally, it was this brave and competent Thimayya who was humiliated by Krishna Menon, when he was Defence Minister in Nehru’s cabinet, forcing Thimayya to resign! Later, after Thimayya withdrew his resignation at the instance of Nehru, even Nehru behaved with him in a way that amounted to his double humiliation!! (Blunder#125)

Thanks to the Indian Army, the raiders were forced to retreat, and were on the run. This war, started by Pakistan in October 1947, lasted 15 months, and ended on 1 January 1949.

The capture of Muzzafarabad, now the capital of PoK, was imminent. The Army, however, was ordered to suspend all offensive operations with effect from 1 January 1949, even though the enemy did not cease fighting. The Indian Army was very disappointed by the decision, but orders were orders. Thanks to ordering of ceasefire with immediate effect by Nehru, PoK—Pakistan Occupied Kashmir—came into existence; else the whole of Kashmir would have been with India. And, now it is this PoK which is used by Pakistan to send terrorists into J&K.

Shakespeare had rightly articulated:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,                                                                                                     Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;                                                                               Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries;                                                                                                        And we must take the current when it serves,                                                                                            Or lose our ventures.

As per a report, the ceasefire decision was remote-controlled by Mountbatten, who was by then back in England—such influence Mountbatten still exercised over Nehru. Commented General SPP Thorat:
“Our forces might have succeeded in evicting the invaders, if the Prime Minister had not held them in check, and later ordered the ceasefire… Obviously great pressure must have been brought to bear on him by the [former Governor-General]… Panditji was a great personal and family friend of Lord Mountbatten.”

The military commanders directly involved in the operations of clearing J&K from the raiders and the Pak-army were General Officer C-in-C, Western Command, KM Cariappa, and the Operational Commander Major- General Thimayya.

As per the biography of late Field Marshal KM Cariappa, they both requested Nehru in December 1948 for a little more time to clear J&K of Pakistani raiders completely, but Nehru did not heed them. Thimayya had told Nehru that the Army needed two weeks more to regain lost territory but Nehru was adamant. It is said that Thimayya found Nehru’s attitude inexplicable, and left Teen Murti Bhavan, the official residence of the PM, in disgust. When Cariappa asked Nehru about the decision a few years later, Nehru conceded that the ceasefire order ought to have been delayed!

Britain had marked out two areas that had to absolutely go to Pakistan— despite J&K accession to India: (a)One was the northern area along the Chinese, Russian and Afghanistan borders comprising Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, Swat and Chitral. This area commanded as much strategic importance to Britain and the West as NWFP in Pakistan. Mountbatten had ensured NWFP went to Pakistan, even though its leader, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, was opposed to the partition of India. (b)The other area was the western strip adjoining Pakistani Punjab to secure Pakistan from India, comprising Muzzafarabad, Mirpur, Bhimbar, Kotli and adjoining areas. Muzzafarabad is now the capital of PoK. What the British had planned, they managed to achieve—thanks to the way Nehru acted, or failed to act. How the British managed to fool India even after independence! Reflects very poorly on the then Indian leadership.

After J&K acceded to India on 26 October 1947, Major William Brown of the Gilgit Scouts, although a British contract officer of the Maharaja of J&K, had the Governor Ghansara Singh imprisoned on 31 October 1947, as per a pre-meditated plan, and hoisted the Pakistani flag there on 2 November 1947, and declared its accession to Pakistan! This was totally an illegal action on the part of the British meant to deliberately deny India access to Central Asia. Mountbatten would surely have known of the goings on, but did nothing, or rather, allowed the illegality to quietly happen. Major Khurshid Anwar was one of the Pakistani army officers who had organised and lead the Pakistani Pathan tribal invasion of J&K. His deputy, Major Aslam Khan, took charge of Gilgit from Brown. In 1948, Brown was honoured with the “Most Exalted Order of the British Empire”.

Wrote NV Gadgil, the then Cabinet Minister for Works and Mines in the Nehru’s Cabinet, in his autobiography ‘Government from Inside’:
“In truth, Nehru did not show much enthusiasm for Kashmir’s accession at the time… Both the Maharaja and [Meherchand] Mahajan [Premier of Kashmir] pressed for the acceptance of Kashmir’s accession, but Nehru would not move. [Nehru then was being guided by Sheikh Abdullah]…                                                                                                                                                                    If our army had not received instructions to stop fighting before that date [1 January 1949], it would have cleared the raiders from whole of Kashmir…
“The restrain imposed upon our army was motivated by the hope that Pakistan would be satisfied with a bit of Kashmir occupied by it. Of course, some of us opposed this view… Sheikh Abdullah was an ordinary person elevated to an extraordinary position by the Government of India [Nehru]…
“I am afraid that Nehru is responsible for the prolongation of the problem through his willingness to compromise at every stage… Had Vallabhbhai [Patel] been the man to handle the Kashmir question, he would have settled it long ago. At least, he would never have settled with a partial control of Jammu & Kashmir. He would have occupied the whole of the
State and would never have allowed it to be elevated to international importance.”      

MO Mathai, the then private secretary to Nehru, wrote: “Nehru… ordered a ceasefire in Kashmir at a time when our forces were in a sound position and poised to roll back the enemy. Nehru’s decision, which was impulsive, was a grievous error much resented by the armed forces. Nehru’s was an imitative and an absorptive mind… Essentially, Gandhi’s was an original mind, while Nehru’s was a second-rate one. He was all heart and less mind. This is reflected in his books also.”

Wrote BM Kaul in ‘Confrontation with Pakistan’: “We were politically unwise in accepting the ceasefire in view of our successes at the time in Uri, Tithwal, and Kargil.”

As per the article “Nehru’s Pacifism and the Failed Recapture of Kashmir” by Sandeep Bamzai in ORF:
“To keep abreast with the developments in Kashmir, Nehru had dispatched his private secretary and ‘eyes and ears’ Dwarka Nath Kachru to the frontline…
“Some of Kachru’s correspondence is extremely damaging, the prism far too revealing of how the Indian Army first pushed back the raiders and then vanquished the Pakistan Army regulars, even having them on the run… Previously unpublished correspondence [Nehru-Kachru] reveal that Nehru’s pacifism—guided by the principles of fair play [?!] and the fact that India had referred the Kashmir matter to the United Nations erroneously on Lord Mountbatten’s insistence—meant that the Indian Army was refused permission to go all the way and reclaim what eventually became PoK and the Northern Areas…”

Nehru can be squarely blamed for the creation of the J&K problem, and the creation of the PoK.                                                                                                                            

Share this post