On August 28, 1965, a group of Indian soldiers led by Major Ranjit Singh Dayal captured the strategic Haji Pir pass that Pakistan had been using to infiltrate the Kashmir valley. They called it operation Gibraltar. However, the Indian army decided to put a stop to that.
In the run-up to the 1965 India-Pakistan war, India registered the first win after a 37-hour battle in hostile terrain. Thirteen days later, India sealed the victory. It captured Kahuta on September 10 ending Pakistani resistance.
This operation was the Indian army’s most successful military action during the entire war of 1965, but within months, India gave up the prize.
In the Tashkent agreement of 1966, India returned the Haji Pir pass to Pakistan. Later on January 10, 1966, right after signing the Tashkent declaration with President Ayub Khan of Pakistan, India’s then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died. Had the pass been held by India, the distance from Jammu to Srinagar through Poonch and Uri would have been reduced by over 200 kms.
Once Pakistan got it back, it resumed infiltration into Jammu.
Lal Bahadur Shastri returned the Haji Pir to save Akhnoor in the bargain. Shastri bartered for Pakistan’s withdrawal from the Chamb sector. Pakistan was already stationed in the sector 4, kilometeres away from Akhnoor and was all set to wrest control of the Jammu-Srinagar highway via Akhnoor.