|Context||Indo-Pakistani War of 1965|
|Signed||10 January 1966|
|Location||Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Soviet Union|
|Signatories||Lal Bahadur Shastri (Prime Minister of India)|
Muhammad Ayub Khan (President of Pakistan)
The Tashkent Declaration was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan signed on 10 January 1966 that resolved the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Peace had been achieved on 23 September by the intervention of the external powers that pushed the two nations to cease fire, afraid the conflict could escalate and draw in other powers.
The meeting was held in Tashkent in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union (now Uzbekistan) from 4 to 10 January 1966 to try to create a more permanent settlement.
The Soviets, represented by Premier Aleksey Kosygin, moderated between Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan.
The conference was viewed as a success.[by whom?] A declaration was released that was hoped to be a framework for lasting peace by stating that Indian and Pakistani forces would pull back to their pre-conflict positions, their pre-August lines, no later than 25 February 1966; neither nation would interfere in each other's internal affairs; economic and diplomatic relations would be restored; there would be an orderly transfer of prisoners of war, and both leaders would work towards improving bilateral relations.
The agreement was criticized in both countries as their people were expecting more concessions than they got. In accordance with the Tashkent Declaration, talks at the ministerial level were held on 1 and 2 March 1966. Despite the fact that these talks were unproductive, the diplomatic exchange continued throughout the spring and summer. Results weren't achieved out of these talks, as there was a difference of opinion over the Kashmir issue.
In India, the agreement was criticized because it did not contain a no-war pact or any renunciation of guerrilla warfare in Kashmir. After signing the agreement, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died mysteriously in Tashkent. Shastri's sudden death has led to persistent conspiracy theories that he was poisoned. The Indian government has refused to declassify a report on his death claiming that this could harm foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and a breach of parliamentary privileges.
News of the Tashkent Declaration shocked the people of Pakistan. Things further worsened as Ayub Khan refused to comment and went into seclusion instead of announcing the reasons for signing the agreement. Demonstrations and riots erupted at various places throughout Pakistan. In order to dispel the anger and misgivings of the people, Ayub Khan decided to lay the matter before the people by addressing the nation on 14 January 1966. It was the difference over the Tashkent Declaration, which eventually led to the removal of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from Ayub's government, who later on launched his own party, called the Pakistan People's Party. Although Ayub Khan was able to satisfy the misgivings of the people, the Tashkent Declaration greatly damaged his image and was one of the factors that led to his downfall. These led to the resignation of President Ayub Khan, who invited army chief General Yahya Khan to take over the central government.