.....Institute for Strategic Research and Analysis
THE TRUTH ABOUT JAMMU AND KASHMIR, DOES PAKISTAN HAVE A LOCUS STANDI -III By Lieutenant Colonel Thakur Kuldip S. Ludra )(Retd.)
Chronologically speaking, the tribal hordes entered the State of Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October, using the roads Jhelum-Bhimber-Mirpur-Kotli-Poonch, Rawalpindi-Murree-Domel-Baramulla-Srinager and Abbotabad-Muzaffarabad-Domel-Baramulla-Srinagar, apart from numerous other tracks. In no time they had over run the western part of Kashmir. The aim was to capture the Srinagar airfield and thereafter besiege Srinagar, if the need arose, and to force the Maharajah to sign the Instrument of Accession, handing over Kashmir to Pakistan. As a preliminary operation, right from early September onwards, right from Bhimber, through Mirpur, Kotli , Poonch onto Gilgit, the Muslims had risen in revolt, at the instigation of the Pakistan authorities, forcing the Jammu and Kashmir Forces to be split, which was being done by the British Commander of the State Forces, Major General Scott, to carry out 'fire fighting' operations to contain this revolt. In fact, in Gilgit, Major Brown of the British Army commanding the Gilgit Scouts led the coup against the State Forces. At the time the State had a total Army of eight battalions, out of which one was the State Reserve in Srinagar, one in Gilgit, which had mutinied along with the Gilgit Scouts, under Major Brown. The rest were spread all over the State. Deployment of 4 J & K Rifles will give a good picture of the way the units had been broken and spread out. The battalion was deployed as follows: -
a. A Company--- Kohala-Barasala.
b. B Company ---Handwara-Garhi Dopatta .
c. C Company--- Lohar Gali
d. D Company ---Ramkot Ghori
e. Battalion Headquarters at Domel. The situation was so precarious that even this force was extremely short of ammunition. According to Bleoria, the British Officers were not permitting the movement of ammunition, even though the demand had been approved by the Home Minister as well as the Defense Minister .The situation was so acute that the State Forces could not even blow up the Bridge at Domel as no demolition set was available. The end result was that the Tribal invaders had a cakewalk, right across the Border. The Government of India came to know of the invasion only on 24 October and that also through the Pakistan Army's message to Field Marshal, then General, Auchinleck. This, notwithstanding what Major Onkar Singh Kalkat had informed the military leadership as well as the political leadership. This only strengthens the point that the Commander-in-Chief knew about the whole plan. Obviously, for British interest to be met, there had to be a clash between Pakistan and India. So the message was rushed, to the Prime Minister, Pundit Nehru, at his residence, where the Foreign Minister of Thailand and Lord Mountbatten were dining with Nehru. The same night Maharaja Hari Singh requested India for assistance to meet the threat. While Sardar Patel was keen to meet the request, Lord Mountbatten, against the normal democratic norms, insisted that this was possible only if Jammu and Kashmir should first accede to India, and persuaded Nehru to follow his advice. Then started the drama which ended with the signing of the Instrument of Accession on the night of 26 October and on the 27 October the first contingent of the Indian Army, three companies of Ist Sikh were flown into Srinagar. Surprisingly, even with the two days notice no contingency planning was done. Obviously the British had their own axe to grind. In the meantime, the women and the nuns at Baramulla had succeeded in halting the rush of the tribals, by becoming the victims of the lust of the Pathans. For four days the rape of Baramulla continued. This, along with Brigadier Rajendra Singh's gallant stand ending in his death, was enough to delay the Tribal Lashkars and save the Valley. The delay was enough to permit the Indians to eventually build up a brigade which was successful in forcing the tribals to withdraw all the way back to West of Uri. This was when Pakistan moved in her Regular Army. The C-in C of Pakistan Army, General Gracey, again a Britisher, had issued his appreciation that under no circumstances would India be allowed to cross the line Uri-Poonch-Naushera. In the meantime, on 6 January 1948, Pandit Nehru, on the advise of Mountbatten, India's evil genius, moved the United Nations' Organization, thereby internationalizing the conflict, at the same time legitimizing aggression. India had walked into a trap set by the British and perpetuated the conflict.
Simultaneously, Nehru, again on the advice of Mountbatten, stated that as far as India was concerned, the Accession was only temporary and plebiscite would be held to ascertain the will of the people, after Pakistan had vacated the aggression. A blind idealist act, far removed from practical realpolitik! What was more important, this was done by Nehru, without consulting his Cabinet or the Parliament and against the advice of his Home Minister, Sardar Patel. As such an illegal act! In the field, in the meanwhile, the British led Army Headquarters had ordered the shifting of the momentum from East-West direction to North-South direction, thereby breaking the momentum of the offensive. In spite of the interference, the local commanders continued to put pressure on the Pakistani Forces. General Thimmaya to maintain the pressure moved 163 Brigade along the axis. Sopore-Kupwara-Chowkibal- Tangdhar-Tithwal- Muzaffarabad. The advance made very rapid progress. Nastachun Pass was secured and the troops advanced right upto the line of Krishan Ganga. Richmar Gali was also secured.
Initially, in the momentum of the advance, Krishan Ganga was crossed and feature, Point 9444, was secured, but eventually, as a result of Pakistani pressure 1 Madras who had crossed over, were pulled back. At this stage the Indian Forces were poised to advance upto Muzzaffarabad, which was just 18 miles away, along the road. It involved capturing just two features, Pir Hashimar and Pir Chinasi. The advance had to be shelved because non-availability of one additional battalion by the Army Headquarters. In the meantime Pakistan 7 Infantry Division, Commanded by Major General F.J Loftus Tottenham against all orders by the Government of Great Britain, and 9 Infantry Division Commanded by Major General Nazir Ahmed were surreptitiously inducted into the State. Simultaneously, Pakistan, again threatened the valley by securing Gurez and advancing towards Razagdhani Pass, on the way to Bandipur. While two battalions were made available to clear the area, the moment Gurez was secured the battalions were withdrawn, instead of logically using this force, along with an additional battalion to advance and secure Skardu, by forcing Pakistani troops to lift the siege. Failure to do so not only threatened Leh and the Indus Valley for all times to come, but also sowed seeds for the present conflict in Siachen, as well as the Kargil Ingression apart from creating a situation where Zoji La had to be cleared after heavy fighting and considerable losses.
(Remarks by G.C.Asnani : Why did we allow the Britishers to remain even one day after 15th August 1947 ? We kept our defence forces under the control of these intriguing Britishers and behaved like senseless people, trusting those who wanted to destroy us. (NOT WE, BUT SECRET AGENT OF ISLAM CALLED JAWAHARLAL NEHRU!) That is called silliness, simple and total. In military matters, the politicians must keep themselves within limits and allow our own Indian defence forces to have more freedom of decision and action. It is the job of professionals, not of market-place politicians. The latter know only how to give big speeches, senseless though these might be. They are incapable of governing in certain matters which should be left to Professionals. The market-place politicians can give good speeches in market places, not in places where Professionalism is required. That is how experience has shown that we need a Parliament of Professionals, not of market-place politicians who have made a mess of the affairs of the country.)