Decades of Pakistani resentment over India’s stance on Kashmir, and its subsequent attempt to force a military solution on the issue, led to the 1965 war between the two neighbours. It ended in a stalemate on the battlefield, and after a mere twenty-one days, the war was brought to a dramatic end with the signing of a peace treaty at Tashkent. The opposing sides both claimed victory, however, and also catalogues of heroic deeds that have since taken on the character of mythology. Although neither prevailed outright, the one undoubted loser in the conflict was the incumbent President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, who staked his political and military reputation on Pakistan emerging victorious.

With the superpowers unwilling assist in negotiations, and Pakistan reluctant to damage its alliance with America, the agreement that followed only reinforced India’s position not to surrender anything during diplomacy that Pakistan had failed to gain militarily. This book examines in detail the politics, diplomacy and military manoeuvres of the war, using British and American declassified documents and memoirs, as well as some unpublished interviews. It provides a comprehensive overview of the conflict and makes sense of the morass of diplomacy and the confusion of war.