It is often argued that India should not have accepted the UN sponsored ceasefire on January 1, 1949. It is felt that it was a matter of only a few months before the Indian forces captured Pakistan occupied Kashmir including northern areas. This would have ensured that Kashmir did not become a running sore. Undoubtedly there was a marked improvement in military situation in favour of India. Lifting of the siege of Poonch in November, 1949 was a huge setback for Pakistan, an even bigger setback was loss of Zojila and subsequent link up with Leh in November 1948. The success action against Razakars in Hyderabad in September 1948 had released sizeable Indian forces for redeployment in Jammu and Kashmir. Death of Jinnah in September 1948 had introduced an element of uncertainty in Pakistan. Also limited finances of Pakistan could not have coped with a protracted war.
It has also been said that ceasefire orders came as a big surprise to the senior military commanders conducting operations in Jammu and Kashmir. A longer warning period would have enabled the troops to capture important tactical features thus improving their defensive posture before the ceasefire took effect. But because Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire at the last minute, it was not possible for government of India to give a more warning period to commanders. The Indian army, ably supported by the Indian Airforce had won several major victories in the last few months of 1948. These defeats however did not break the back of the enemy resistance. The Indian forces had spent their initial momentum, extended the lines of communication and used up their reserves of ammunition and supplies. Also it was not possible to conduct large scale operations in winter months. If more troops were inducted in Jammu and Kashmir in winters, their sustenance would have been a logistics nightmare. The comparative force levels in Jammu and Kashmir in December 1948 were:- Indian forces had to operate under serious handicaps in J&K. Local actions were not sufficient.
For decisive victory, the only option was to bring Pakistan to battle across the international border as was done in 1965. So if the whole of Jammu and Kashmir was to be liberated, a general war against Pakistan was necessary where India’s superior combat power would have given India a decisive edge and would have made Pakistan to recall her forces from J&k. But that was a much wider question and wrongly as it turned out, India didn’t opt for a war. This was influenced by the British, who having created Pakistan, did not wish to see it dismantled. It needs to be remembered that apart from the Viceroy, the Army Chief was also a British. They did their best to persuade the Indian leadership to not launch a war. Nehru, hoped that Pakistan’s aggression there was an aberration, that all enemy forces would be peacefully withdrawn from the state under the impartial UN advice and thereafter India and Pakistan would live happily ever after as friendly neighbours. It proved to be case of colossal misjudgment, consequences of which are being felt 65 years down the line.