By Commodore C Uday Bhaskar
03 Sep , 2015
The 50th anniversary of the 1965 war covertly initiated by Pakistan against India is being recalled by the Narendra Modi government in a month-long celebratory commemoration that commenced on August 28 (Friday) – the day when Indian troops captured the Haji Pir pass.
Pakistan began this war and tried to use infiltrators to stoke local sentiment in Kashmir but were foiled – much to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s dismay.
This political decision to commemorate the 1965 war is a departure from earlier practice when Congress-led governments preferred to keep a low profile about India’s rich military history, and this was most evident in 1995 – when the P.V. Narasimha Rao government chose (wrongly, in my view) to stay away from the 50th anniversary recall of World War II and the United Progressive Alliance-II ensured that the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war was muted.
However, the Friday recall of the martyrs of 1965 was led by President Pranab Mukherjee who laid a wreath at India Gate and this was followed by Prime Minister Modi who paid tribute through a tweet: “I bow to all the brave soldiers who fought for our motherland.” And to add to the encomiums showered by political leaders, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi recalled party detail when she noted: “Under the able leadership of PM Lal Bahadur Shastri and defence minister Y.B. Chavan, the Indian armed force displayed exemplary courage.”