Ayub Khan missed opportunity for Kashmir's freedom: ex-CIA official

Former Central Investigation Agency (CIA) official Bruce Riedel in his new book 'JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sin...

Former Central Investigation Agency (CIA) official Bruce Riedel in his new book 'JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian war', revealed that Pakistani former president Ayub Khan had demanded Kashmir from the US in return for not attacking India during China-India war in 1962. Riedel held that Pakistan was in best position to attack India in 1962 and the Indian army would have been reduced to splinters in the two-sided attack by Pakistan and China.

Pakistani former president Ayub Khan 

According to the ex-CIA official, the then US president, John F Kennedy, played a decisive role in preventing the attack from Pakistan. Kennedy and the then UK premier Harold Macmillan pressurised Pakistan saying if it attacks India then it will also be declared an invader like China, says Riedel. The former CIA official observed that the main reason behind Pakistan not attacking India in 1962 was that Pakistan would have been left isolated by enraging US and UK.

According to the then US ambassador in India, Ayub Khan was fully opposed to US advice but when he was told that President Kennedy would make this request by writing him a letter then he became ready to lend his ears to it. Riedel added Ayub laid the pre-condition that US should promise to adopt a stern attitude against India on the Kashmir issue in return for it. The book goes on to say, "If we look into it then Ayub Khan was saying US and Pakistan should jointly force India to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan."

According to the book, Ayub made no promise with Kennedy and he also expressed his displeasure as the US supplied arms to India against China without informing Pakistan. Ayub was of the view that the US breached a pact with Pakistan wherein it was laid down that despite a Chinese attack, US would not extend any military aid to India without the approval of Pakistan.

"Ayub Khan started the 1965 war against India on his own but the arms supplied by US to India for using them against China led to failure in war," he said. Riedel further says in his book that US and UK had assured Pakistan they would find a solution to the Kashmir issue through dialogue with India after war. "When Ayub Khan asked about it following the [Indo-China] war, the then US ambassador replied to Washington that Nehru was absolutely split after India's defeat at the hands of China and he was not enjoying such credibility in local politics that he could take any vital decision on the Kashmir issue."

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