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There is an instant slump of military aid of the USA to Pakistan from 1966 onward. It seems like the USA suspended aid to Pakistan just after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Pakistan was a strong ally of the USA during the 60s as Pakistan was a member of SEATO and CENTO. India didn't have any supply of weapons from the USA. India was also not involved in an alliance with the USA. In fact, India was a non-aligned country.

So, what prompted the USA to cut the supply of military aid to Pakistan?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – sempaiscuba Jul 30 '20 at 21:50

The answer is in the Wikipedia article on the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965:

"Following the start of the 1965 war, both the United States and Britain took the view that the conflict was largely Pakistan's fault, and suspended all arms shipments to both India and Pakistan."

The source cited by Wikipedia for that statement is Pakistan : a country study by Peter R Blood, published by the Federal Research Division of the United States Library of Congress. From that book we have:

"In mid-1965, Pakistan sent guerrilla forces into the Indian-held territory of Kashmir in the hope of stirring up a rebellion that would either oust the Indians or at least force the issue back onto the international agenda. Pakistani forces did not find as much support among the Kashmiri population as they had hoped, but fighting spread by August, and a process of escalation culminated in a full-scale Indian offensive toward Lahore on September 6."

  • p269

The response of the United States is explained on the following page:

"Pakistan was rudely shocked by the reaction of the United States to the war. Judging the matter to be largely Pakistan's fault, the United States not only refused to come to Pakistan's aid under the terms of the Agreement of Cooperation, but issued a statement declaring its neutrality while also cutting off military supplies.

  • p270 (my emphasis)

It is interesting to note that an article on historypak.com acknowledges the fact that Pakistan had initiated the conflict:

India attacked Pakistan owing to the latter’s provocation by undertaking the operation Gibraltar in Indian held Kashmir.

Operation Gibraltar was the codename given to the strategy of Pakistan to infiltrate Jammu and Kashmir, and instigate the locals in starting a rebellion against Indian rule there. As the Wikipedia article notes:

The operation sparked the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the first major engagement between the two neighbours since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.

The fact that Pakistan's attack on Kashmir led almost directly to full-scale war with India should have surprised nobody. As Ahmad Faruqui wrote in his article Why did Operation Gibraltar fail?:

Gibraltar was based on Pakistan’s mistaken presumptions about India capabilities and an exaggerated opinion of its own capabilities. Nehru had warned Pakistan in the early 1950s that an attack on Kashmir would result in a general war. Nehru’s successor, the diminutive Lal Bahadur Shastri, had repeated that warning after the Pakistani attack in the Rann of Kutch.

  • Ahmad Faruqui : Why did Operation Gibraltar fail?, Pakistan Daily Times, 6 August, 2018

In fact, although Operation Gibraltar may have been the operation that sparked the war, the first full-scale act of aggression of that war was Operation Grand Slam in which the Pakistan Army attacked the town of Akhnoor in Jammu, with the objective of seizing the vital Akhnoor Bridge, on 1 September 1965. The American-supplied M47 Patton and M48 Patton tanks used by the Pakistan Army outclassed the Indian Army's French AMX-13 tanks, and the Pakistan Army enjoyed some early success. In the event, as the Wikipedia article notes:

The operation ended in a failure for the Pakistan Army as the stated military objectives were not achieved and they subsequently were forced to retreat following a counterattack by the Indian Army.

That counterattack by the Indian Army crossed the International border between India and Pakistan into Punjab province on 6 September 1965.

However, both the United Kingdom and United States recognised that this had been a response to the Operation Grand Slam assault by the Pakistan Army. Further, given the earlier infiltration of insurgents into Kashmir as part of Operation Gibraltar, it was clear that the conflict had been initiated by Pakistan. Both the United States and the United Kingdom suspended all arms shipments to both India and Pakistan.

  • 1
    @user366312 You asked "... what prompted the USA to cut the supply of military aid to Pakistan?". This answers that question. It doesn't matter how often you post that question, the answer will not change. The article I quoted from historypak.com is particularly relevant, as it was one of the sources you cited in your previous version of this question. – sempaiscuba Jul 1 '20 at 3:28
  • @user366312 It is quite possible that the US might also have restored military aid to Pakistan, but I guess the fact that Pakistan started another war with India in 1971 might have derailed any progress in that direction. – sempaiscuba Jul 1 '20 at 3:32
  • @user366312 The graph shows what actually happened. Since Pakistan did start another war with India in 1971, there was no chance of the US restoring military aid to Pakistan. – sempaiscuba Jul 2 '20 at 10:53

Since there is no official explanation available from the US side, the only explanation I can guess is that the USA saw Pakistan's attack on India in 1965 as a possible shift of balance of power in favor of communist China.

Until 1969, the USA was adopting a policy of the containment of China:

Washington encouraged its allies to refrain from entering into diplomatic relations with Beijing. The United States prohibited Americans from visiting China. The United States cut off trade and orchestrated an international embargo of China.

By being even tougher on China than on its main communist rival, the Soviet Union, the United States pursued a so-called "wedge strategy." This strategy aimed to encourage a split between the two communist allies. It was successful because such a split did occur, becoming evident in around 1960 and worsening thereafter.

Pakistan was a member of US-led anti-communist pole (SEATO, CENTO, etc) from its inception.

Due to the common hostility with India, Pakistan started to warm relations with China ("An enemy of my enemy is my friend"). The progress was steady and significant:

  1. 1950 - Establishment of diplomatic relations with China.
  2. 1962 - Sino-Indian war where India lost miserably.
  3. 1963 - Resolution of land disputes with China by ceding disputed lands.

When the 1965's Indo-Pakistan War broke out, Pakistan didn't receive any direct help from the USA. This put the US-Pakistan alliance in question. So, Pakistan decided to leave SEATO/CENTO pact.

The USA saw the leaving of the pacts and the warming up of the relationship with China as duplicity from the Pakistani side for two reasons:

  1. Pakistan's act was against the China-containment policy of the USA
  2. Pakistan-China alliance was seen as the shift the balance of power

#2 begs an explanation.

India was a nonaligned country, so it posed no threat to the USA. India was a democracy and had an enormous population, but India also had close ties with the USSR. So, any imbalance of power in the region had the possibility to either push India more to the USSR's sphere or making China stronger. That was a big risk factor for the USA. So, given its democracy and stable domestic political environment, strategically, India was considered by the USA to be the leader of South Asia. As a result, the Indian occupation of Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Goa, and` blatant intervention in Sri Lanka's civil war and in Maldives' coup de tat never raised any eye braw from the West.

Initially, the USA sought a close relationship with India but India refused.:

Nehru and his top aide V. K. Krishna Menon discussed whether India should "align with the United States 'somewhat' and build up our economic and military strength."[34] The Truman administration was quite favorable and indicated it would give Nehru anything he asked for. He proudly refused and thereby forfeited the chance for a gift of one million tons of wheat. The American Secretary of State Dean Acheson recognized Nehru's potential world role but added that he was "one of the most difficult men with whom I have ever had to deal."[35] The American visit had some benefits in that Nehru gained widespread understanding and support for his nation, and he himself gained a much deeper understanding of the American outlook.[36]

India rejected the American advice that it should not recognize the Communist conquest of China, but it did back the US when it supported the 1950 United States.

On the other hand, Pakistan's alliance with the USA was a superficial one just like the Gulf states, where there are no shared values including the religion. So, when Pakistan attacked India in 1965, the USA considered this as a trigger for the rise of a second communist power which was China.

This argument hasn't lost its relevance even today. The current US policy seems to contain China while Pakistan and India are sitting at the opposite camps when it comes to the USA's China-containment policy.

After 1969, the USA changed its policy toward China and decided to help china to pit it against the USSR by supplying arms, technology, and investment.


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