September marks the 50th anniversary of the seventeen-day war fought between India and Pakistan. The 1965 war involved nearly one million troops and ended in a ceasefire brokered by the Soviet Union. The United States played an important role in the struggle, cutting off military supplies to both sides and participating in diplomatic negotiations to end the conflict.
Pakistan and India currently have two of the largest armies in Asia and each country possesses an estimated nuclear arsenal of at least 100 weapons. The India-Pakistan border remains a frequent site of violence and many of the issues that triggered the 1965 war persist today. The stability of South Asia, a region critical to American foreign policy interests, rests on the tenuous peace between these two countries, with the potential remaining for both future conflict and conciliatory resolutions.
On September 9th, Hudson Institute hosted a panel discussion on the causes and impact of the 1965 war and what has and has not changed in India-Pakistan relations over the last 50 years. The discussion also addressed how U.S. involvement in the conflict influenced both Indian and Pakistani views of U.S. foreign policy. The distinguished panel featured Dr. Stephen Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s India Project; Mr. Shuja Nawaz, Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center; and Col. John Gill (Ret.), Associate Professor at the Near East-South Asia Center at the National Defense University. The panel was moderated by Hudson’s Senior Fellow and Director of South and Central Asia, Ambassador Husain Haqqani.