Shiv Kunal VermaJun 9, 2022
A Western Sunrise--India's War with Pakistan
Aleph Book Company 2021
The history of India and Pakistan since Partition has been marked by countless skirmishes–and four major wars. The second conflict–the 1965 war between India and Pakistan along the long land border–featured some of the largest tank battles since the Second World War and some of the first skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani air forces. It reshaped regional and global geopolitics, pushing India closer to the Soviet Union and Pakistan closer to China.
But the war didn’t arise from nowhere, as Shiv Kunal Verma notes in his newest history 1965: A Western Sunrise (Aleph Book Company: 2021) The book notes the timeline leading up to the war, including the 1962 war with China and the skirmish in the Rann of Kutch months before Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir. Nor did it end with a great deal of finality, with months of conflict following a ceasefire—and instability that again erupted in war in 1971.
Shiv Kunal Verma is a military historian and filmmaker, working with all three branches of the Indian armed forces. ces. He helped to write The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why (Rupa & Co.: 2010) and Courage & Conviction (Aleph Book Company: 2013), the autobiography of General VK Singh. His latest book, 1962: The War That Wasn’t (Aleph Book Company: 2016) has been hailed as one of the most definitive works on the Indo-China conflict.
In this interview, Kunal and I talk about the 1965 India-Pakistan War–how the 1962 war with China helped to set the stage for the 1965 war, the breadth of the conflict along the India-Pakistan border, and how the ‘65 war has repercussions that can still be seen today.
Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.