03.30.21 (Gill) The 1971 India-Pakistan War_ Background, Course and Lasting Implications
From Julia Karon Grimm on April 22nd, 2021
Speaker: John H. Gill (Jack) is an adjunct professor affiliated with the Near East–South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA Center) in Washington DC. A former U.S. Army South Asia Foreign Area Officer, he has been following South Asian issues from the intelligence and policy perspectives in various positions within the U.S. government since the mid-1980’s. During his time at the NESA Center, he also served as Special Assistant for India/Pakistan with the U.S. Joint Staff, as Military Advisor to Ambassador James Dobbins, the U.S. envoy to the Afghan opposition forces, and as liaison officer to the Pakistan Army for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He has taught graduate courses as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and his publications on South Asia include an Atlas of the 1971 India-Pakistan War, chapters on Indian and Pakistani strategic affairs in three editions of the National Bureau of Asian Research annual Strategic Asia, as well as chapters the 1986-87 India–Pakistan Brasstacks crisis, the Kargil War and other topics. He is also an internationally recognized military historian and has authored several books and numerous papers on the Napoleonic era. 1:00 PM EDT India and Pakistan fought a brief full-scale war in December 1971 that ended with the independence of the former East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. Preceded by months of vicious internal conflict within East Pakistan, the war was a watershed moment in South Asia’s history, not only because it ushered in a new nation but because its genesis, course and outcomes created a prism through which the participants have viewed themselves, each other and the outside world ever since. Though it was fought fifty years ago, the war’s legacy, bitter, triumphant or ambiguous, remains relevant to our understanding of the region today. This short presentation will sketch the background to the conflict, review its military dimensions and outline some of its ramifications to set the stage for a discussion with faculty and students.