Never in life had Nehru begged even a penny from someone. But he was compelled to beg to America for some Jets and ammunition in 1962 when the Chinese advance magnified. The Kennedy Government refused to do so citing the Cuban crisis. It was a heart break!
( Such was the charm of Nehru…)
India lost the 1962 war badly…mostly due to inexperience and lack of resources. It is evident from Time magazine’s comment on the war, “ In this war, India needs all most everything, except courage.” At last, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and occupied the Aksai Chin. Yet another heartbreak.
Nehru was against the election of her daughter Indira as the Congress president . An over ambitious Indira stood against her father, opposing one of the finest diplomats of the world, on a petty issue of a communist Kerala Govt. This heart break was final.
Nehru lived his youth like a Prince of the City and spent his prime fighting for his motherland and romancing vicereines. After independence, he left no stone unturned to secure her future…..but in his final days, Nehru was just a betrayed old man. The charming bachelor of the Court of Inns, whose friend circle, which included the likes of Einstein and Shaw, was a matter of envy for many a Euoropian princes, was now a lone warrior whose had lost the last battle of his life.
The dejected Nehru retired to Kashmir, the land written on his heart. But even the temptress which the vale was, could not seduce his weary soul this time. Nehru died in May 1964, the month he returned from Kashmir, as if it was Kashmir which was making him live.
It was only when India lost Nehru, that his importance was fully recognized. India was an orphan…literally. There was no visible leadership. And Indira…? Who wanted a dictator for a country so nascent. An untested petite man, who earlier had resigned from his post of Railways Minister was made the Prime Minister. His name was Lal Bahadur Shashtri.
But India’s loss was someone else’s gain. Any problems guessing whose?
Julfikar Ali Bhutto, the foreign minister of Pakistan, had some plans in mind. He went to Ayub Khan, the then dictator President of Pakistan, and proposed his plan. The liberal dictator, who actually introduced capitalist economic reforms in Pakistan, got tense on hearing the plan. Eyes still on the file, he asked Bhutto, “ Is it even fair? ”
“ Everything is fair in Kashmir and war”, replied Bhutto, a feline smile on his face.
Yes it was a fair deal. India had lost a full scale war only two years ago. Her morale was down and the only man who could raise it, was gone. Pakistan armour was beaming with the new Patton tanks supplied by America and airforce was boasting of the state of the art Sabre jets, one of the most dreaded jets of that time. India had only the old British Folland Gnats and a diminished rusty armour.
Moreover, it was now or never for Pakistan. However dejected Nehru had been, he had not lost his zeal to strengthen his country. It was the time when India’s relations with the Soviet Union were growing sound. The purchase of arms was going on. So if Pakistan was to conquer Kashmir, it was to be done immediately.
The operation was codenamed operation Gibraltor and was designed to rip Kashimr apart from India, and that too, from within.
But it backfired….yet again.