Lal Bahadur Shastri and glorious Indo-Pak War of 1965

India’s second Prime Minister and arguably the most daring one, Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birth anniversary is also celebrated with Mahatma Gandhi on the 2nd of October. Shastri was chosen as Nehru’s successor owing to his adherence to Nehruvian socialism and so he became the Indian Prime Minister in the year 1964.

Lal Bahadur Shastri’s greatest moment came when he led India to a gigantic win in the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

Pakistani army’s Ceasefire violation were on the peak as they layed a claim to half of the Kutch peninsula. Which led to a battle between the Indian and Pakistani armed forces. In his report to the Lok Sabha on the confrontation in Kutch,India’s then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri stated:

New Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri is giving his speech - June 1964

In the utilization of our limited resources, we have always given primacy to plans and projects for economic development. It would, therefore, be obvious for anyone who is prepared to look at things objectively that India can have no possible interest in provoking border incidents or in building up an atmosphere of strife… In these circumstances, the duty of Government is quite clear and this duty will be discharged fully and effectively… We would prefer to live in poverty for as long as necessary but we shall not allow our freedom to be subverted.


Under a scheme proposed in June 1965 by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Pakistan obtained 10%, in place of their original claim of 50% of the territory. But Pakistan’s aggressive intentions were also focused on Kashmir. When armed infiltrators from Pakistan began entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Shastri made it clear to Pakistan that force would be met with force. In September 1965, major incursions of militants and Pakistani soldiers began, hoping not only to break down the government but incite a sympathetic revolt. The revolt did not happen, and India sent its forces across the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control) and threatened Pakistan by crossing the International Border near Lahore as war broke out on a general scale. Massive tank battles occurred in the Punjab, and while the Pakistani forces made some gains, Indian forces captured the key post at Haji Pir, in Kashmir, and brought the Pakistani city of Lahore under artillery and mortar fire.


During this war Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a slogan, which is still popular,

Jai Jawan Jai Kisan

Meaning Hail the soldier, hail the farmer. This one slogan led to vigorous victory.

On 17 September 1965, while the Indo-Pak war was on, India received a letter from China alleging that the Indian army had set up army equipment in Chinese territory, and India would face China’s wrath, unless the equipment was pulled down. In spite of the threat of aggression from China, Shastri declared “China’s allegation is untrue. If China attacks India it is our firm resolve to fight for our freedom. The might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity.” The Chinese did not respond, but the Indo-Pak war resulted in some 3–4,000 casualties on each side and significant loss of material.

Indian Army in Haji Pir Pass

The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. By that time, India had inflicted a crushing defeat on Pakistan. In a broadcast to the nation on the day the of ceasefire, Shastri stated:

“While the conflict between the armed forces of the two countries has come to an end, the more important thing for the United Nations and all those who stand for peace is to bring to an end the deeper conflict…. How can this be brought about? In our view, the only answer lies in peaceful coexistence. India has stood for the principle of coexistence and championed it all over the world. Peaceful coexistence is possible among nations no matter how deep the differences between them, how far apart they are in their political and economic systems, no matter how intense the issues that divide them.”

Tashkent treaty
Lal Bahadur Shastri Signing the treaty of Tashkent.

After the declaration of ceasefire with Pakistan in 1965, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan). On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration, which meant that both armies will drawback and both won’t interfere between each other’s external affairs. A pact which Pakistan still follows?

In conclusion to this, in a perfect reply to ceasefire violation by Pakistani army, our honorable former Prime Minister went in and captured Pakistan’s backbone, Lahore.