Prithviraj Chauhan had defeated the Islamic invader, Muhammad Ghori, 16 times in a row. Every time before his release from the Prithviraj Court, he prayed for mercy and took an oath to never attack any Hindu Kingdom. During peacetime, Ghori used to prepare for war and in the final 17th time he was able to defeat the king. This 17th battle is known as the second battle of Tarain, which paved the way for Islamic rule in northern India. The magnanimous behaviour of Prithviraj Chauhan not only cost him his kingdom but the whole of Bharat became the victim of that strategic mistake.
The shadow of Prithviraj Chauhan Syndrome was also reflected in the Indian-Pakistan War and the agreement thereof. Despite thoroughly defeating the Pakistani forces and capturing the 93,000 prisoners of war, India did not dictate the terms of ‘the peace’ agreement. After the successful win on the battlefield, we lost the war on the table.
Thorough victory in 1972
Created with the common idea of Islam, Pakistan’s territorial area was totally asymmetrical and impractical to rule. Western Pakistan was 1600 km away from eastern Pakistan, and both were culturally very different from each other. The flash point of war became the general election of 1970.
Despite winning with the absolute majority in the 313-seat National Assembly of Pakistan, East Pakistan’s Awami League was not allowed the premiership of Pakistan. This political discrimination was responded by a massive nationwide strike and non-cooperation by the Awami League.
Further, on 26 March 1971, Major Ziaru Rahman of the Pakistan Army declared the independence of Bangladesh. This caused widespread genocide by Pakistani forces against Bengali Hindu Citizens. The impact of this mass crime was that the common Bengali people started to flee the country, and about 10 million people sought refuge in India.
In the follow-up to India’s support to Mukti Bahini Forces, on 3 December 1971, Pakistan launched pre-emptive strikes on eleven Indian airfields. On the same evening, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held the offensive strike, a declaration of war, and commanded the Indian Air Force to launch a retaliatory air strike against Pakistan.
On the western front, India’s air, navy, and army ensured that the enemy did not cross Indian soil. While in eastern Pakistan, India, coordinating with Bengali nationalist forces, ensured the establishment of Bangladesh. In Merely 13 days, India routed the Pakistani forces in every direction. On 16 December 1971, Pakistan unilaterally announced a ceasefire and surrendered its military to the Indian Army.
Defeated on the Table
After the war, diplomatic manoeuvrings started between India and Pakistan. As the peace process involved the release of about 93,000 Pakistani prisoners and the liberation of Bangladesh, disagreements were bound to happen during the negotiations.
The Simla Agreement signed on July 2, 1972, after the war was very disadvantageous for India. In the terms of negotiations, everything was in favour of Pakistan. Whatever they wanted was given to them.
Despite capturing 15,000 square kilometres of Pakistan’s territory and capturing nearly one-fourth of its army, India was not able to dictate its terms on the table.
Without setting any strong terms for the future course of bilateral relations, Indian negotiators did not assert the country’s long-term interest. Following the classical idealism policy, India lost the great opportunity to settle the conflicting positions.
It is said that the lack of assertiveness of India in the Simla Agreement provided ground for the separatist movement in India. After losing Bangladesh in 1972, Pakistan resorted to taking revenge on India. It launched covert operations to inflict separatist movements in the Indian state of Punjab and Kashmir. After the 1972 war, Pakistan never launched any offensive strike against India. But they continued to support the Khalistani and Kashmir separatist movements.
India made a mistake by not crushing the enemy to the extent that they never rose against it once again. Once again followed in the 1972 war the Prithviraj Chauhan Syndrome has continued to the modern times. Despite winning the battle on ground against Pakistan, we lost to them on the table.
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