ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Operation Gibraltar, 1965

An Unholy Alliance of Guns, God, and Government

An exploration of the military, religious, territorial, and political factors that led to the failed Operation Gibraltar and thereon to the Indo–Pak war of 1965 is relevant to the ongoing violence in Kashmir, a manifestation of popular anger against perceived abuses in the Indian rule, and therein lies the possibility of further Gibraltar-like scenarios.

The author would like to thank Keely Rogers and Susan Merrick of ACS Egham International School, and Amar Sarkar for their inputs and guidance.

Operation Gibraltar, a covert Pakistan-backed guerrilla attack that aimed to draw on anti-Indian sentiment and foment a rebellion against the Indian government in Kashmir, was launched in August 1965 (Almeida 2015). The operation failed, but further fuelled the conflict over the Jammu and Kashmir region between its two claimants, India and Pakistan. The Kashmir issue has been both a key barrier to regional stability since the emergence of the two states in 1947 as well as a central factor in each nation’s conception and construction of its national identity.

In the course of their relatively short independent histories, the two countries have shared a nuclear arms race, near-daily skirmishes at the border, and three all-out wars for the control of Kashmir, which has remained a significant flashpoint on the international stage. This article offers an overview of the antecedents to Operation Gibraltar, including military factors, religious tensions, territorial issues, and the role of political leadership on both sides, all of which culminated in war and increased the perception, held by India and the international community at large, of Pakistan having ambitions in Kashmir.

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Updated On : 20th Apr, 2018
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