NEW DELHI: Today marks the beginning of the 50-years celebrations of the victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, that saw the birth of Bangladesh as a nation and its liberation from Pakistani rule. The war concluded with the fall of Dhaka and surrender of Pakistani forces on Dec 16, 1971. The day is observed as ‘Vijay Diwas‘ in India.
Here are the highlights of the conflict:
This was one of the shortest military conflicts in history, lasting just 13 days.
The war resulted in the largest military surrenders since World War II, when the Pakistan Army chief General Niazi surrendered with 93,000 of his troops.
A pro-leberation struggle in Bangladesh against the Pakistani misrule was already on in full swing before the war began.
The genocide and oppression by pakistani forces saw a huge influx (approximately 10 million people) from erstwhie East Pakistan to India.
India opened camps in states brdering Bangladesh for sheltering the refugees.
The Mukti Bahini, that was fighting the regime in East Pakistan got a boost when then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi extended support in their fight against the Pakistan.
Sensing the possibility of war, India had already made military preparations with buildups on Western and eastern fronts.
Pakistan carried out air strikes on several Indian bases in the Western sector on December 3. The same night, PM Gamdhi addressed the nation over radio and said the Pakistani raids amounted to declaration of war against India.
Indian Air Force carried out massive retaliatory strikes the next day.
The war saw Indian dominance in air, sea and ground. The Mukti Bahini, trained and armed by India, joined hands with Indian Army to inflict heavy damage to Pakistani forces on the ground.
Pakistan suffered heavy losses in a surprise attack on the Karachi port by Indian Navy.
In a major air attack, Indian Air Force destroyed several Pakistani aircraft at the Murid base; Pakistan lost about 75 aircraft in the war.
In the famous Battle of Longewala, fought on the Rajasthan border, Indian forces thwarted a major offensive by Pakistani tanks. Indian forces destroyed 34 Pakistani tanks and nearly 200 soldiers.
The war ended with Pakistan army chief Gen Niazi signing the Instrument of Surrender with India’s Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dhaka on Dec 16, 1971.
About 93,000 Pakistani troops also surrendered, making it the largest military surrender after World War II.
Huge swathes of Pakistani areas in PoK, Punjab and Sindh came under Indian control, which were ceded after the signing of Shimla Agreement.