20 January, 2021

Out Of Business

The US-UK’s disinterest in ‘intervening’ upended Pak gameplan

Out Of Business

Sitting at his desk in the cabinet office on what was by London standards a warm autumn day, an aide to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson shot off an urgent note to Number 10. A “ceasefire had been agreed” and was to come into effect at precisely 10 pm (GMT). It was September 22, 1965. Around the same time, at 7 in the mor­ning in Washington, military and civ­ilian personnel inside the situation room in the White House drafted a similar note to President Lyndon B. Johnson. The war was over. For Johnson, who cared little for South Asia, the central concern had to do with China. On Sep­t­e­mber 17, premier Zhou En-Lai warned India that further escalation could result in Chinese intervention. The CIA strongly argued that such involvement was “unl­ikely”, but the risk made it all that more important to end the war at the earliest.

If the Chinese too chose to send forces across the border into India, the United States would be compelled to enter a war its commander-in-chief had no interest in whatsoever. Unlike his predecessor...



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