Shimla agreement was signed on 2nd July 1972. It was signed between Smt Indira Gandhi and Mr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. This agreement was diplomatic defeat of India despite Military gains of 1971 war.

In the 1971 Indo Pak war India had successes in Shakarhgarh, Chicken’s neck near Akhnoor. In J&K Pakistan gained some territory in Chhamb which were never returned. India captured strategic out posts in Kargil area, posts that dominated the Srinagar – Ladakh road link and was a constant irritant.

In the agreement it was also agreed to let each side retain the territory captured by each other in Jammu And Kashmir in 1947 and to convert ceasefire line into Line of Control ( LOC)

This created a peculiar situation in areas bordering Jammu as India committed to withdraw from captured area (since the captured areas were in Pakistani Punjab and not J&K), areas captured by Pakistan were to be retained by that country- village Thakochak. Vill Thalochak of J&K was retained by Pakistan. This agreement was signed without Military inputs of ground situation.

If the India had plans to retain the captured territory in J&K, a major thrust towards Skardu or Gilgit could have threatened the land access between Pakistan and China. This region giving proximity to Pakistan and China has become major problem for India and recent India-China stand off.

The acceptance of disputed status of Kashmir was a major diplomatic blunder and India continues to pay a heavy price for it. Military gains of 1971 war could have been used by India to negotiate with Pakistan on kashmir. India repeated blunder of signing Indus Water treaty in 1960 which Nehru called as he buying peace for water.

Indian leaders suffer from Ashoka Syndrome in terms of peace. But never understood policy of Ashoka in real terms. Even a realist and tough leader like Indira Gandhi succumbed to this temptation at Simla in 1972. Indian leaders have forgotten that Ashoka embarked upon his ‘peace offensive’ only after the Kalinga victory.

Shimla agreement was honoured by Pakistan till return of prisoners of war and return of their territory but afterwards didn’t return Indian territories and never worked for normalization of situation in J&K.

Now PM Modi has given hope of a realist leadership in India because Pakistan and China understand the language of realism only. We already have lost opportunities to negotiate with tough stand in Indus water treaty and Shimla agreement.

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