A decision to ceasefire is not determined by generals alone. In 1948, Nehru had three good reasons for ordering one(File Photo)
It’s odd that 50 years after his death, the question ‘Did Nehru mishandle Kashmir or is he being unfairly blamed?’ is being asked. But since Amit Shah has raised the issue, let me attempt an answer. However, I shall only focus on the issues that are conflict points between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
First, Amit Shah has claimed Nehru wrongly declared a ceasefire in 1948 and, as a result, one-third of the state was lost to India. This is arguably corroborated by unverified reports that Gen Cariappa, who was the commander in charge of the fighting, disagreed with the ceasefire decision. He felt India could regain all of Jammu and Kashmir if the Army was given three weeks more.
However, a decision to ceasefire is not determined by generals alone. In 1948, Nehru had three good reasons for ordering one. He faced international pressure – specifically from the US – which a one-year-old country would have found hard to resist. Equally importantly, beyond the ceasefire line, the terrain and logistics were increasingly in Pakistan’s favour whilst the forces our Army would have confronted would be the Pakistan army and not the Pathan Lashkars.