Tashkent Agreement

The Tashkent Agreement of 1966 brought a temporary end to the 1965 war between India and Pakistan and was important subsequently in regulating negotiations over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The United Nations (UN) had organized a cease-fire in 1965 when it became clear that the fighting had the possibility of endangering large population centers. After 17 days of fighting, neither side wished to resume hostilities owing to the vulnerability of their people, the lack of ammunition and supplies, and the lack of war goals that could be held.

Arms suppliers in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as in China were unwilling to provide more weapons. Consequently, all parties were amenable to finding a means of diplomatically resolving the confrontation.

Soviet prime minister Alexei Nikolaevich Kosygin invited both sides to a conference at Tashkent in the southern Soviet Uzbek Republic. The subsequent agreement was signed by the president of Pakistan, Mohammad Ayub Khan, and the Indian prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, on January 10, 1966. Unfortunately, Shastri died the following day of a heart attack.

The main provisions included the withdrawal of all troops to their prewar positions, the restoration of diplomatic relations, the promise not to intervene in the internal affairs of the other side, and the agreement to hold discussions concerning various social and economic issues.

The oversight of the withdrawal of forces was conducted by the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and the United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM). These missions were successfully concluded.

The permanent end to war and the renunciation of terrorist activities in Kashmir were not included in the final treaty, and both India and Pakistan suffered from some measure of internal disorder. In the case of Pakistan, unrest forced the resignation of Ayub Khan, the head of a military government, in 1969.

Meanwhile, Shastri was succeeded by Indira Gandhi, whose administration was troubled by right-wing opposition. The two countries were at war again in 1971 as part of the secession of East Bengal from Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh.