Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

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The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Indian, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

i and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan
Operation Chengiz Khan
Operation Chengiz Khan was the code name assigned to the pre-emptive strikes carried out by the Pakistani Air Force on the forward airbases and radar installations of the Indian Air Force on the evening of 3 December 1971, and marked the formal initiation of hostilities of the Indo-Pakistani war...

, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike
Pre-Emptive Strike
Pre-Emptive Strike is the first release by Five Finger Death Punch on July 10, 2007. It was only released as a digital download to the American iTunes Music Store. The live version of "The Devil's Own" was recorded at a performance in Las Vegas, Nevada....

 on 11 Indian airbases. Lasting just 13 days it is considered one of the shortest wars in history.

During the course of the war, Indian and Pakistani forces clashed on the eastern and western fronts. The war effectively came to an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument of Surrender
Instrument of Surrender (1971)
The Instrument of Surrender was signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka at one past five in the evening , local time, on December 16, 1971, by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan...

, the first and perhaps the only public surrender to date, on December 16, 1971 following which East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 seceded as the independent state of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. Around 97,368 West Pakistanis who were in East Pakistan at the time of its independence, including some 79,700 Pakistan Army soldiers and paramilitary personnel and 12,500 civilians, were taken as prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 by India.

Background


The Indo-Pakistani conflict was sparked by the Bangladesh Liberation war, a conflict between the traditionally dominant West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

is and the majority East Pakistanis. The Bangladesh Liberation war ignited after the 1970 Pakistani election, in which the East Pakistani Awami League won 167 of 169 seats in East Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313-seat lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora
Majlis-e-Shoora
The Parliament of Pakistan, officially termed the Majlis-e-Shoora ; is the federal and supreme legislative body of Pakistan. It is a bicameral federal legislature that consists of the Senate and the National Assembly, the upper and lower houses, respectively...

 (Parliament of Pakistan). Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman presented the Six Points to the President of Pakistan and claimed the right to form the government. After the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, refused to yield the premiership of Pakistan to Mujibur, President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 called the military, dominated by West Pakistanis, to suppress dissent.

Mass arrests of dissidents began, and attempts were made to disarm East Pakistani soldiers and police. After several days of strikes and non-cooperation movements, the Pakistani military cracked down on Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 on the night of 25 March 1971. The Awami League was banished
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

, and many members fled into exile in India. Mujib was arrested on the night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 a.m. (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971) and taken to West Pakistan.

On 27 March 1971, Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

, a rebellious major in the Pakistani army, declared the independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Mujibur. In April, exiled Awami League leaders formed a government-in-exile in Baidyanathtala
Mujibnagar
Also See: Provisional Government of the People's Republic of BangladeshMujibnagar , formerly known as Baidyanathtala is a town in the Meherpur District of Bangladesh...

 of Meherpur. The East Pakistan Rifles, a paramilitary force, defected to the rebellion. Bangladesh Force namely Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 consisting of Niyomito Bahini (Regular Force) and Gono Bahini (Guerilla Force)} was formed under the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) General Mohammad Ataul Ghani Osmany.

India's involvement in Bangladesh Liberation War


The Pakistan army conducted a widespread genocide against the Bengali population of East Pakistan, aimed in particular at the minority Hindu population, leading to approximately 10 million people fleeing East Pakistan and taking refuge in the neighboring Indian states. The East Pakistan-India border was opened to allow refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, Meghalaya
Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means the Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi . The...

 and Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

 established refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

s along the border. The resulting flood of impoverished East Pakistani refugees placed an intolerable strain on India's already overburdened economy.

General Tikka Khan
Tikka Khan
General Tikka Khan, HJ, HQA, SPk, was a senior four-star general in the Pakistan Army who served as the first Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army from 3 March 1972 to 1 March 1976. Before his four-star assignment, Khan was a Martial Law Administrator of erstwhile East-Pakistan...

 earned the nickname 'Butcher of Bengal' due to the widespread atrocities he committed. General Niazi commenting on his actions noted 'On the night between 25/26 March 1971 General Tikka struck. Peaceful night was turned into a time of wailing, crying and burning. General Tikka let loose everything at his disposal as if raiding an enemy, not dealing with his own misguided and misled people. The military action was a display of stark cruelty more merciless than the massacres at Bukhara and Baghdad by Chengiz Khan and Halaku Khan
Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan, also known as Hülegü, Hulegu , was a Mongol ruler who conquered much of Southwest Asia...

... General Tikka... resorted to the killing of civilians and a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy. His orders to his troops were: 'I want the land not the people...' Major General Farman
Rao Farman Ali
Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan was Pakistan Army general during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. He took commission in an artillery regiment in 1941 and later commanded the 26 Field Regiment...

 had written in his table diary, "Green land of East Pakistan will be painted red". It was painted red by Bengali blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

.'

The Indian government repeatedly appealed to the international community
International community
The international community is a term used in international relations to refer to all peoples, cultures and governments of the world or to a group of them. The term is used to imply the existence of common duties and obligations between them...

, but failing to elicit any response, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

 on 27 March 1971 expressed full support of her government for the independence struggle of the people of East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

. The Indian leadership under Prime Minister Gandhi quickly decided that it was more effective to end the genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 by taking armed action against Pakistan than to simply give refuge to those who made it across to refugee camps. Exiled East Pakistan army officers and members of the Indian Intelligence immediately started using these camps for recruitment and training of Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 guerrillas.

The mood in West Pakistan had also turned increasingly jingoistic and militaristic against East Pakistan and India. By the end of September, an organized propaganda campaign, possibly orchestrated by elements within the Government of Pakistan, resulted in stickers proclaiming Crush India becoming a standard feature on the rear windows of vehicles in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore and soon spread to the rest of West Pakistan. By October, other stickers proclaimed Hang the Traitor in an apparent reference to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...


Objective



By November, war seemed inevitable. Throughout November, thousands of people led by West Pakistani politicians marched in Lahore and across West Pakistan, calling for Pakistan to Crush India. India responded by starting a massive buildup of Indian forces on the border with East Pakistan. The Indian military waited until December, when the drier ground would make for easier operations and Himalayan
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 passes would be closed by snow, preventing any Chinese intervention. On 23 November, Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 declared a state of emergency in all of Pakistan and told his people to prepare for war.

On the evening of 3 December Sunday, at about 5:40 p.m., the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) launched a pre-emptive strike on eleven airfields in north-western India, including Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 which was 300 miles (482.8 km) from the border. During this attack the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal...

 was camouflaged with a forest of twigs and leaves and draped with burlap because its marble glowed like a white beacon in the moonlight.

This preemptive strike known as Operation Chengiz Khan
Operation Chengiz Khan
Operation Chengiz Khan was the code name assigned to the pre-emptive strikes carried out by the Pakistani Air Force on the forward airbases and radar installations of the Indian Air Force on the evening of 3 December 1971, and marked the formal initiation of hostilities of the Indo-Pakistani war...

, was inspired by the success of Israeli Operation Focus
Operation Focus
Operation Focus was the opening airstrike by Israel at the start of the Six-Day War in 1967. It is sometimes referred to as "Sinai Air Strike" since the focus was primarily on airfields around the Sinai Peninsula. At 07:45 on June 5, 1967, the Israeli Air Force under Maj. Gen...

 in the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

-Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i Six Day War. But, unlike the Israeli attack on Arab airbases in 1967 which involved a large number of Israeli planes, Pakistan flew no more than 50 planes to India.

In an address to the nation on radio that same evening, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held that the air strikes were a declaration of war against India and the Indian Air Force responded with initial air strikes that very night. These air strikes were expanded to massive retaliatory air strikes the next morning and thereafter which followed interceptions by Pakistanis anticipating this action.

This marked the official start of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the immediate mobilization of troops and launched the full-scale invasion. This involved Indian forces in a massive coordinated air
East Pakistan Air Operations, 1971
East Pakistan Air Operations incorporate the interdiction, air defence, ground support, and logistics missions flown by the Indian Air Force and the Bangladesh Air Force in support of the advancing Mitro Bahini in the eastern theatre of the Indo-Pakistani conflict of 1971...

, sea, and land assault. Indian Air Force started flying sorties against Pakistan from midnight. The main Indian objective on the western front was to prevent Pakistan from entering Indian soil. There was no Indian intention of conducting any major offensive into West Pakistan.

Naval hostilities



The naval reconnaissance submarine operations was first started by the Pakistan Navy on both eastern and western front. In the western theatre of the war, the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

, under the command of Vice Admiral S.N. Kohli
Sourendra Nath Kohli
Sourendra Nath Kohli is a retired Indian Navy admiral who served as the 9th Chief of the Naval Staff from March 1, 1973 until February 29, 1976. Kohli served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and was responsible for the...

, achieved success by attacking Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

's port in the code-named Operation Trident
Operation Trident (Indo-Pakistani War)
Operation Trident and its follow-up Operation Python were naval offensive operations launched on Pakistan's port city of Karachi by the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Operation Trident resulted in the first use of anti-ship missiles in the region, as well as the first sinking of...

 on the night of 4–5 December, which resulted in the sinking of the Pakistani destroyer PNS Khyber and a minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

 PNS Muhafiz
PNS Muhafiz
PNS Muhafiz was an of the Pakistan Navy. It was built by USA for transfer to Pakistan. PNS Muhafiz was sunk by a missile from INS Veer of the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.-Operation Trident:...

; PNS Shah Jahan was badly damaged. This resulted in tactical Indian success: 720 Pakistani sailors were killed or wounded, and Pakistan lost reserve fuel and many commercial ships, thus crippling the Pakistan Navy's further involvement in the conflict. Operation Python
Operation Python
Operation Python, a follow up to Operation Trident, was a code name of a naval attack launched on West Pakistan's port city of Karachi by the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971...

 followed Operation Trident which was on the night of 8–9 December, in which Indian rocket-armed motor torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

s attacked the Karachi port that resulted in further destruction of reserve fuel tanks, and in the sinking of three Pakistani commercial ships in Karachi Harbour.

In the eastern theatre of the war, the Indian Eastern Naval Command, under Vice Admiral Krishnan, completely isolated East Pakistan by establishing a naval blockade in the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

, trapping the Eastern Pakistani Navy and eight foreign merchant ships in their ports. From 4 December onwards, the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy.Her keel was laid down on 12 November 1943 by Vickers-Armstrong on the Tyne and she was launched on 22 September 1945....

 was deployed in which its Sea Hawk
Hawker Sea Hawk
The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Fleet Air Arm , the air branch of the Royal Navy , built by Hawker Aircraft and its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although its origins stemmed from earlier Hawker piston-engined fighters, the Sea Hawk became the...

 fighter-bombers attacked many coastal towns in East Pakistan including Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

 and Cox's Bazaar. Pakistan responded by sending the submarine PNS Ghazi
PNS Ghazi
PNS Ghazi was Pakistan Navy 's first ever submarine, leased from United States in 1963. It saw action in the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. The submarine could be armed with up to 28 torpedoes and, in later years, was re-fitted in Turkey for mine-laying capability...

 to negate the threat which sank en route under mysterious circumstances off Vishakapatnam's coast reducing Pakistan's control of Bangladeshi coastline. But on 9 December, the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

 suffered its biggest wartime loss when the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor
PNS Hangor
PNS Hangor was a Daphné class submarine that served in the Pakistan Navy from 1970 to 2006. She was built by France, and was a type of diesel-electric submarine class. She earned renown, when during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, she sank the Indian Navy's ASW frigate INS Khukri with two Homing...

 sank the frigate INS Khukri
INS Khukri
INS Khukri was a British Type 14 frigate of the Indian Navy. She was sunk off the coast of Diu, Gujarat, India by the Pakistan Navy Daphne class submarine Hangor on 9 December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. This was the first warship sunk in action by a submarine since World War II...

 in the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 resulting in a loss of 18 officers and 176 sailors.

The damage inflicted on the Pakistani Navy stood at 7 gunboat
Gunboat
A gunboat is a naval watercraft designed for the express purpose of carrying one or more guns to bombard coastal targets, as opposed to those military craft designed for naval warfare, or for ferrying troops or supplies.-History:...

s, 1 minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

, 1 submarine
PNS Ghazi
PNS Ghazi was Pakistan Navy 's first ever submarine, leased from United States in 1963. It saw action in the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. The submarine could be armed with up to 28 torpedoes and, in later years, was re-fitted in Turkey for mine-laying capability...

, 2 destroyers, 3 patrol crafts belonging to the coast guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

, 18 cargo, supply and communication vessels, and large scale damage inflicted on the naval base and docks in the coastal town of Karachi. Three merchant navy ships – Anwar Baksh, Pasni and Madhumathi – and ten smaller vessels were captured. Around 1900 personnel were lost, while 1413 servicemen were captured by Indian forces in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

. According to one Pakistan scholar, Tariq Ali
Tariq Ali
Tariq Ali , , is a British Pakistani military historian, novelist, journalist, filmmaker, public intellectual, political campaigner, activist, and commentator...

, the Pakistan Navy lost a third of its force in the war.

Air operations


After the initial preemptive strike, PAF adopted a defensive stance in response to the Indian retaliation. As the war progressed, the Indian Air Force continued to battle the PAF over conflict zones, but the number of sorties flown by the PAF gradually decreased day-by-day. The Indian Air Force flew 4,000 sorties while its counterpart, the PAF offered little in retaliation, partly because of the paucity of non-Bengali technical personnel. This lack of retaliation has also been attributed to the deliberate decision of the PAF High Command to cut its losses as it had already incurred huge losses in the conflict. Though PAF did not intervene during the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

's raid on Pakistani naval port city of Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, it retaliated with bombing the okha harbour destroying the fuel tanks used by the boats that attacked.

In the east, the small air contingent of Pakistan Air Force No. 14 Sqn was destroyed, putting the Dhaka airfield out of commission and resulting in Indian air superiority in the east.

Attacks on Pakistan

While India's grip on what had been East Pakistan tightened, the IAF continued to press home attacks against Pakistan itself. The campaign settled down to series of daylight anti-airfield, anti-radar and close-support attacks by fighters, with night attacks against airfields and strategic targets by B-57s and C-130 (Pakistan), and Canberras and An-12s (India). The PAF's F-6s were employed mainly on defensive combat air patrols over their own bases, but without air superiority the PAF was unable to conduct effective offensive operations, and its attacks were largely ineffective. During the IAF's airfield attacks one US and one UN aircraft were damaged in Dacca, while a Canadian Air Force Caribou was destroyed at Islamabad, along with US military liaison chief Brigadier General Chuck Yeager's USAF Beech U-8 light twin.

Sporadic raids by the IAF continued against Pakistan's forward air bases in the West until the end of the war, and large scale interdiction and close-support operations, and were maintained. The PAF played a more limited part in the operations, and were reinforced by F-104s from Jordan, Mirages from an unidentified Middle Eastern ally (probably Libya) and by F-86s from Saudi Arabia. Their arrival helped camouflage the extent of Pakistan's losses. Libyan F-5s were reportedly deployed to Sargodha, perhaps as a potential training unit to prepare Pakistani pilots for an influx of more F-5s from Saudi Arabia.

Hostilities officially ended at 14:30 GMT on 17 December, after the fall of Dacca on 15 December. India claimed large gains of territory in West Pakistan (although pre-war boundaries were recognised after the war), though the independence of Pakistan's East wing as Bangladesh was confirmed. India flew 1,978 sorties in the East and about 4,000 in the West, while PAF flew about 30 and 2,840. More than 80 percent of the IAF's sorties were close-support and interdiction, and about 65 IAF aircraft were lost (54 losses were admitted), perhaps as many as 27 of them in air combat. Pakistan lost 72 aircraft (51 of them combat types, but admitting only 25 to enemy action). At least 16 of the Pakistani losses, and 24 fell in air combat (although only 10 air combat losses were admitted, not including any F-6s, Mirage IIIs, or the six Jordanian F-104s which failed to return to their donors). But the imbalance in air losses was explained by the IAF's considerably higher sortie rate, and its emphasis on ground-attack missions. On the ground Pakistan suffered most, with 8,000 killed and 25,000 wounded while India lost 3,000 dead and 12,000 wounded. The losses of armoured vehicles were similarly imbalanced. This represented a major defeat for Pakistan.

Ground operations


Pakistan attacked at several places along India's western border with Pakistan, but the Indian army successfully held their positions. The Indian Army quickly responded to the Pakistan Army's movements in the west and made some initial gains, including capturing around 5500 square miles (14,244.9 km²) of Pakistan territory (land gained by India in Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

 and Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 sectors was later ceded in the Simla Agreement of 1972, as a gesture of goodwill).

On the eastern front, the Indian Army joined forces with the Mukti Bahini to form the Mitro Bahini
Mitro Bahini
Mitro Bahini was the alliance of the Indian Army and the then-East Pakistani Mukti Bahini that engaged the Pakistani forces in December 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The alliance provided the final blow to the already weakened Pakistan Army which surrendered thirteen days after the...

("Allied Forces"); Unlike the 1965 war which had emphasized set-piece battles and slow advances, this time the strategy adopted was a swift, three-pronged assault of nine infantry divisions with attached armored units and close air support that rapidly converged on Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan.

Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, who commanded the eighth, twenty-third, and fifty-seventh divisions, led the Indian thrust into East Pakistan. As these forces attacked Pakistani formations, the Indian Air Force rapidly destroyed the small air contingent in East Pakistan and put the Dhaka airfield out of commission. In the meantime, the Indian Navy effectively blockaded East Pakistan.

The Indian campaign employed "blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
For other uses of the word, see: Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg is an anglicized word describing all-motorised force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery, combat engineers and air power, concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the lines are broken,...

" techniques, exploiting weakness in the enemy's positions and bypassing opposition, and resulted in a swift victory. Faced with insurmountable losses, the Pakistani military capitulated in less than a fortnight
Fortnight
The fortnight is a unit of time equal to fourteen days, or two weeks. The word derives from the Old English fēowertyne niht, meaning "fourteen nights"....

. On 16 December, the Pakistani forces stationed in East Pakistan surrendered.

Surrender of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan




The Instrument of Surrender of Pakistani forces stationed in East Pakistan was signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 at 16.31 IST on 16 December 1971, by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora
Jagjit Singh Aurora
Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971...

, General Officer Commanding-in-chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Lieutenant General A. A. K. Niazi
A. A. K. Niazi
Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi HJ, MC,; c. 1915 - 2 February 2004), was a former three-star general in the Pakistan Army who was the last unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces's Eastern Military High Command in East-Pakistan...

, Commander of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. As Aurora accepted the surrender
Surrender (military)
Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.When the...

, the surrounding crowds on the race course began shouting anti-Niazi and anti-Pakistan slogans.

India took approximately 90,000 prisoners of war, including Pakistani soldiers and their East Pakistani civilian supporters. 79,676 prisoners were uniformed personnel, of which 55,692 were Army, 16,354 Paramilitary, 5,296 Police, 1000 Navy and 800 PAF. The remaining prisoners were civilians – either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars
Razakars (Pakistan)
The Razakar was the paramilitary force organized by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.The Urdu word razakar literally means "volunteer". The Razakar force was composed of mostly pro-Pakistani Bengalis and Urdu-speaking migrants living in erstwhile East Pakistan...

). The Hamoodur Rahman Commission report instituted by Pakistan lists the Pakistani POWs as follows:
Branch Number of captured Pakistani POWs
Army 54,154
Navy 1,381
Air Force 833
Paramilitary including police 22,000
Civilian personnel 12,000
Total: 90,368

Western and Soviet involvement


The Soviet Union sympathized with the Bangladeshis, and supported the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini during the war, recognizing that the independence of Bangladesh would weaken the position of its rivals—the United States and China. The USSR gave assurances to India that if a confrontation with the United States or China developed, it would take counter-measures. This assurance was enshrined in the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty
Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
The Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation was a treaty signed between India and the Soviet Union in August 1971 that specified mutual strategic cooperation...

 signed in August 1971.

The United States supported Pakistan both politically and materially. President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 and his Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 feared Soviet expansion into South and Southeast Asia. Pakistan was a close ally of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and where he intended to visit in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America's new tacit ally, China. In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan, routing them through Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the "genocidal" activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram. This prompted widespread criticism and condemnation both by Congress and in the international press.

Then-US ambassador to the United Nations George H.W. Bush—later 41st President of the United States—introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council calling for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of armed forces by India and Pakistan. It was vetoed by the Soviet Union. The following days witnessed a great pressure on the Soviets from the Nixon-Kissinger duo to get India to withdraw, but to no avail.

It has been documented that President Nixon requested Iran and Jordan to send their F-86, F-104 and F-5 fighter jets in aid of Pakistan.

When Pakistan's defeat in the eastern sector seemed certain, Nixon deployed a carrier battle group
Carrier battle group
A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together composing the group. The first naval task forces built around carriers appeared just prior to and during World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single...

 led by the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
USS Enterprise , formerly CVA-65, is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth US naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed the "Big E". At , she is the longest naval vessel in the world...

 into the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. The Enterprise and its escort ships arrived on station on 11 December 1971. According to a Russian documentary, the United Kingdom deployed a carrier battle group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle
HMS Eagle (R05)
HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, in service 1951-1972. With her sister ship , she is one of the two largest British aircraft carriers yet built....

 to the Bay, although this is unlikely as the Eagle was decommissioned at Portsmouth, England in January 1972.

On 6 December and 13 December, the Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 dispatched two groups of cruisers and destroyers and a submarine armed with nuclear missiles from Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

; they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 into the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 from 18 December 1971 until 7 January 1972. The Soviets also had a nuclear submarine to help ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise task force in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

.

India


The war stripped Pakistan of more than half of its population and with nearly one-third of its army in captivity, clearly established India's military dominance of the subcontinent. In spite of the magnitude of the victory, India was surprisingly restrained in its reaction. Mostly, Indian leaders seemed pleased by the relative ease with which they had accomplished their goals—the establishment of Bangladesh and the prospect of an early return to their homeland of the 10 million Bengali refugees who were the cause of the war. In announcing the Pakistani surrender, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

 declared in the Indian Parliament:

"Dacca is now the free capital of a free country. We hail the people of Bangladesh in their hour of triumph. All nations who value the human spirit will recognize it as a significant milestone in man's quest for liberty."

Pakistan


For Pakistan it was a complete and humiliating defeat, a psychological setback that came from a defeat at the hands of intense rival India. Pakistan lost half its population and a significant portion of its economy and suffered setbacks to its geo-political role in South Asia. Pakistan feared that the two-nation theory was disproved and that the Islamic ideology had proved insufficient to keep Bengalis part of Pakistan. Also, the Pakistani military suffered further humiliation by having their 90,000 prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (POWs) released by India only after the negotiation and signing of the Simla Agreement on July 2, 1972. In addition to repatriation of prisoners of war also, the agreement established an ongoing structure for the negotiated resolution of future conflicts between India and Pakistan (referring to the remaining western provinces that now composed the totality of Pakistan). In signing the agreement, Pakistan also, by implication, recognized the former East Pakistan as the now independent and sovereign state of Bangladesh.

The Pakistani people were not mentally prepared to accept defeat, as the state-controlled media in West Pakistan had been projecting imaginary victories. When the surrender in East Pakistan was finally announced, people could not come terms with the magnitude of defeat, spontaneous demonstrations and mass protests erupted on the streets of major cities in West Pakistan. Also, referring to the remaining rump Western Pakistan as simply "Pakistan" added to the effect of the defeat as international acceptance of the secession of the eastern half of the country and its creation as the independent state of Bangladesh developed and was given more credence. The cost of the war for Pakistan in monetary and human resources was very high. Demoralized and finding himself unable to control the situation, General Yahya Khan surrendered power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was sworn-in on 20 December 1971 as President and as the (first civilian) Chief Martial Law Administrator. A new and smaller western-based Pakistan emerged on 16 December 1971.

The loss of East Pakistan shattered the prestige of the Pakistani military. Pakistan lost half its navy, a quarter of its air force and a third of its army. The war also exposed the shortcomings of Pakistan's declared strategic doctrine that the "defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan". Hussain Haqqani, in his book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military notes,


"Moreover, the army had failed to fulfill its promises of fighting to the last man. The eastern command had laid down arms after losing only 1,300 men in battle. In West Pakistan 1,200 military deaths had accompanied lack luster military performance."



In his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier’s Narrative Pakistani Major General Hakeem Arshad Qureshi a veteran of this conflict noted,

"We must accept the fact that, as a people, we had also contributed to the bifurcation of our own country. It was not a Niazi, or a Yahya, even a Mujib, or a Bhutto, or their key assistants, who alone were the cause of our break-up, but a corrupted system and a flawed social order that our own apathy had allowed to remain in place for years. At the most critical moment in our history we failed to check the limitless ambitions of individuals with dubious antecedents and to thwart their selfish and irresponsible behaviour. It was our collective ‘conduct’ that had provided the enemy an opportunity to dismember us."

Bangladesh


Bangladesh became an independent nation, the world's third most populous Muslim state. Mujibur Rahman was released from a West Pakistani prison, returned to Dhaka on 10 January 1972 and to become first President of Bangladesh and later its Prime Minister.

On the brink of defeat around 14 December, the Pakistani Army, and its local collaborators
Collaborationism
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

, systematically killed a large number of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

i doctors, teachers and intellectuals, part of a pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 against the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 minorities who constituted the majority of urban educated intellectuals. Young men, especially students, who were seen as possible rebels were also targeted. The extent of casualties in East Pakistan is not known. R.J. Rummel cites estimates ranging from one to three million people killed. Other estimates place the death toll lower, at 300,000. Bangladesh government figures state that Pakistani forces aided by collaborators killed three million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced millions of others. In 2010 Bangladesh government set up a tribunal to prosecute the people involved in alleged war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s and those who collaborated with Pakistan. According to the Government, the defendants would be charged with Crimes against humanity, genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, murder, rape and arson.

Hamoodur Rahman Commission


In aftermath of war Pakistan Government constituted the Hamoodur Rahman Commission headed by Justice Hamoodur Rahman in 1971 to investigate the political and military causes for defeat and the Bangladesh atrocities during the war. The commission's report was classified and its publication banned by Bhutto as it put the military in poor light, until some parts of the report surfaced in Indian media in 2000.

When it was declassified, it showed many failings from the strategic to the tactical levels. It confirmed the looting, rapes and the killings by the Pakistan Army and their local agents. It lay the blame squarely on Pakistani generals, accusing them of war crimes and neglect of duty. Though no actions were ever taken on commissions findings, the commission had recommended public trial of Pakistan Army generals.

Simla Agreement


In 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan, the treaty ensured that Pakistan recognized the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani POWs. India treated all the POWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925. It released more than 90,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months. Further, as a gesture of goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war crimes by Bengalis were also pardoned by India.

The accord also gave back more than 13,000 km² of land that Indian troops had seized in West Pakistan during the war, though India retained a few strategic areas. But some in India felt that the treaty had been too lenient to Bhutto, who had pleaded for leniency, arguing that the fragile democracy in Pakistan would crumble if the accord was perceived as being overly harsh by Pakistanis and that he would be accused of losing Kashmir in addition to the loss of East Pakistan.

Long term consequences

  • Steve Coll
    Steve Coll
    Steve Coll is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and writer. Coll is currently president and CEO of the New America Foundation. Prior to assuming that post on September 17, 2007, Coll was a staff writer for The New Yorker, and served as managing editor of The Washington Post from 1998 to...

    , in his book Ghost Wars, argues that the Pakistan military's experience with India, including Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

    's experience in 1971, influenced the Pakistani government to support jihadist groups in Afghanistan even after the Soviets left, because the jihadists were a tool to use against India, including bogging down the Indian Army in Kashmir
    Kashmir
    Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

    .
  • After the war, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

     came to power. Pakistan launched Project-706
    Project-706
    Project-706, also known as Project-726 or as the Kahuta Project, was a science effort codename of a project conducted during the Cold War and Russo-Afghan War whose objective was to develop Pakistan' first atomic weapon. The mainstream goal of the project was the development of an atomic bomb using...

    , a secret nuclear weapon development program, to defend itself from India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    . A vast majority of Pakistani nuclear scientists who were working at the International Atomic Energy Agency
    International Atomic Energy Agency
    The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

     and European and American nuclear programs immediately came to Pakistan and joined Project-706.
  • Writing about the war in Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

     magazine Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

     stated 'There is no parallel in contemporary history to the cataclysm which engulfed Pakistan in 1971. A tragic civil war, which rent asunder the people of the two parts of Pakistan, was seized by India as an opportunity for armed intervention. The country was dismembered, its economy shattered and the nation's self-confidence totally undermined.'

Important dates

  • 7 March 1971: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declares that, "The current struggle is a struggle for independence", in a public meeting attended by almost a million people in Dhaka.
  • 25 March 1971: Pakistani forces start Operation Searchlight
    Operation Searchlight
    Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

    , a systematic plan to eliminate any resistance. Thousands of people are killed in student dormitories and police barracks in Dhaka.
  • 26 March 1971: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...

     signed an official declaration of independence and sent it through a radio message on the night of 25 March (the morning of 26 March). Later Major Ziaur Rahman
    Ziaur Rahman
    President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

     and other Awami League leaders announced the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujib from Kalurghat Radio Station, Chittagong
    Chittagong
    Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

    . The message is relayed to the world by Indian radio stations.
  • 27 March 1971: Bangladesh Force namely Mukti Bahini {consisting Niyomito Bahini (Regular Force) and Gono Bahini (Guerilla Force)} was formed under the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) General Mohammad Ataul Ghani Osmany.
  • 17 April 1971: Exiled leaders of Awami League form a provisional government.
  • 3 December 1971: War between India and Pakistan officially begins when West Pakistan launches a series of preemptive air strikes
    Operation Chengiz Khan
    Operation Chengiz Khan was the code name assigned to the pre-emptive strikes carried out by the Pakistani Air Force on the forward airbases and radar installations of the Indian Air Force on the evening of 3 December 1971, and marked the formal initiation of hostilities of the Indo-Pakistani war...

     on Indian airfields.
  • 6 December 1971: East Pakistan is recognized as Bangladesh by India.
  • 14 December 1971: Systematic elimination of Bengali intellectuals is started by Pakistani Army and local collaborators.
  • 16 December 1971: Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi
    A. A. K. Niazi
    Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi HJ, MC,; c. 1915 - 2 February 2004), was a former three-star general in the Pakistan Army who was the last unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces's Eastern Military High Command in East-Pakistan...

    , supreme commander of Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, surrenders to the Allied Forces (Mitro Bahini) represented by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Arora of Indian Army at the surrender. India and Bangladesh gain victory.
  • 12 January 1972: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman comes to power.

Battle honours


After the war, a total of number of 41 battle honour
Battle honour
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags , uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible....

s and 4 theatre honours were awarded to units of the Indian Army, the notable amongst which are:


  • East Pakistan 1971 (theatre honour)
  • Sindh 1971 (theatre honour)
  • Jammu and Kashmir 1971 (theatre honour)
  • Punjab 1971 (theatre honour)
  • Basantar River
  • Bogra
  • Chachro

  • Chhamb
  • Defence of Punch
  • Dera Baba Nanak
  • Gadra City
  • Harar Kalan
  • Hilli

  • Longanewala
  • Parbat Ali
  • Poongli Bridge
  • Shehjra
  • Shingo River Valley
  • Sylhet


Gallantry awards


For bravery, a number of soldiers and officers on both sides were awarded the highest gallantry award of their respective countries. Following is a list of the recipients of the Indian award Param Vir Chakra
Param Vir Chakra
The Param Vir Chakra is India's highest military decoration awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy. It can be, and often has been, awarded posthumously....

, Bangladeshi award Bir Sreshtho
Bir Sreshtho
The Bir Sreshtho is the highest military award of Bangladesh. It was awarded to seven freedom fighters who showed utmost bravery and died in action for their nation. They are considered martyrs....

 and the Pakistani award Nishan-E-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder is the highest military decoration given by Pakistan . It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively from Independence in 1947...

:

India
Recipients of the Param Vir Chakra
Param Vir Chakra
The Param Vir Chakra is India's highest military decoration awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy. It can be, and often has been, awarded posthumously....

:
  • Lance Naik
    Lance Naik
    Lance Naik is the equivalent rank to Lance Corporal in the Pakistan and Indian Armies and before 1947, in the British Indian Army, ranking below Naik. In cavalry units the equivalent is Acting Lance Daffadar. Like a British Lance Corporal, he wore a single rank chevron....

     Albert Ekka
    Albert Ekka
    Lance Naik Albert Ekka was a soldier in the Indian army. He died in service in the Battle of Hilli, during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971...

     (Posthumously)
  • Flying Officer
    Flying Officer
    Flying officer is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence...

     Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon
    Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon
    Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against a Pakistani air raid during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971...

     (Posthumously)
  • Major
    Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

     Hoshiar Singh
    Hoshiar Singh
    Colonel Hoshiar Singh, PVC was born in Sisana village, Rohtak district, Haryana to Choudhary Hira Singh. He served in the Indian Army with dedication, retiring as a Colonel. He was awarded India's highest military honor, the Param Vir Chakra...

  • Second Lieutenant
    Second Lieutenant
    Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

     Arun Khetarpal
    Arun Khetarpal
    Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, PVC born in Pune, Maharashtra, was an officer of the Indian Army and a posthumous recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration for valour in face of the enemy...

     (Posthumously)


Bangladesh
Recipients of the Bir Sreshtho
Bir Sreshtho
The Bir Sreshtho is the highest military award of Bangladesh. It was awarded to seven freedom fighters who showed utmost bravery and died in action for their nation. They are considered martyrs....

:
  • Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir
    Mohiuddin Jahangir
    Mohiuddin Jahangir was a Captain in the Bangladesh Army during the 1971 Liberation War. He was born in 1948 in the village of Rahimgonj under Babugonj upazilla of Barisal district. He was an officer in Sector 7 of the Muktibahini. He was killed in an attempt to break through enemy defences on the...

     (Posthumously)
  • Lance Naik Munshi Abdur Rouf
    Munshi Abdur Rouf
    Munshi Abdur Rouf was a Lance Nayek in East Pakistan Rifles during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He enrolled in the East Bengal Regiment on 8 May 1963, and was attached with a regular infantry unit during War of Liberation...

     (Posthumously)
  • Sepoy Hamidur Rahman
    Hamidur Rahman
    Hamidur Rahman , , better known as Shaheed Sepoy Hamidur Rahman, was a Sepoy in Bangladesh Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Hamidur Rahman was killed on October 28, 1971 at Dhalai, Sylhet during an attempt to capture the Pakistani Army's position...

     (Posthumously)
  • Sepoy Mostafa Kamal (Posthumously)
  • ERA Mohammad Ruhul Amin
    Mohammad Ruhul Amin
    Ruhul Amin , better known as Shaheed Mohammad Ruhul Amin, was an engineroom artificer in the Bangladesh Navy who was posthumously awarded the nation's highest bravery award for his service during the Liberation War...

     (Posthumously)
  • Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman
    Matiur Rahman (military pilot)
    Matiur Rahman or M. Matiur Rahman was a Flight Lieutenant in the Pakistan Air Force when the Liberation War broke out. His date of birth is sometimes given as 29 November 1941....

     (Posthumously)
  • Lance Naik Nur Mohammad Sheikh
    Nur Mohammad Sheikh
    Nur Mohammad Sheikh was a Lance Nayek in East Pakistan Rifles during the Liberation War....

     (Posthumously)


Pakistan
Recipients of the Nishan-E-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder is the highest military decoration given by Pakistan . It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively from Independence in 1947...

:
  • Major
    Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

     Muhammad Akram
    Muhammad Akram
    Major Muhammad Akram , was a Pakistan Army officer who was posthumously awarded the Pakistan military's highest decoration, the Nishan-e-Haider, for his actions during the 1971 Indo-Pak...

     (Posthumously)
  • Pilot Officer
    Pilot Officer
    Pilot officer is the lowest commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks immediately below flying officer...

     Rashid Minhas
    Rashid Minhas
    Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas or Rashid Minhas Shaheed, NH, was a Pilot Officer in the Pakistan Air Force during the 1971 Pakistan-India War. Rashid Minhas, a newly commissioned officer at that time, is the only PAF officer who received the highest valor for his actions...

     (Posthumously)
  • Major
    Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

     Shabbir Sharif
    Shabbir Sharif
    Major Shabbir Sharif Rana was a Pakistani officer who received both the Sitara-e-Jurat and Nishan-e-Haider for his bravery.-Early life and military career:...

     (Posthumously)
  • Sarwar
    Sarwar
    Sarwar is a city and a municipality in Ajmer district in the Indian state of Rajasthan.-Geography:Sarwar is located at . It has an average elevation of 337 metres .-Demographics:...

     Muhammad Hussain
    Sawar Muhammad Hussain
    Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed was born in Dhok Pir Bakhsh near Jatli in Gujar Khan on June 18, 1949. He joined Pakistan Army as a driver on September 3, 1966 at a very young age of 17 years...

     (Posthumously)
  • Lance Naik
    Lance Naik
    Lance Naik is the equivalent rank to Lance Corporal in the Pakistan and Indian Armies and before 1947, in the British Indian Army, ranking below Naik. In cavalry units the equivalent is Acting Lance Daffadar. Like a British Lance Corporal, he wore a single rank chevron....

     Muhammad Mahfuz
    Muhammad Mahfuz
    Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed was born in Jat family of Pind Malikan in Rawalpindi District on October 25, 1944. Muhammad Mahfuz joined Pakistan Army on October 25, 1962 as an infantry soldier.-Incident leading to Martyrdom :...

     (Posthumously)

Dramatization


Films
  • Border, a 1997 Bollywood
    Cinema of India
    The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

     war film
    War film
    War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

     directed by J.P.Dutta. This movie is an adaptation from real life events that happened at the Battle of Longewala
    Battle of Longewala
    The Battle of Longewala was one of the first major engagements in the Western Sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert of the Rajasthan state in India.The Indian infantry...

     fought in Rajasthan (Western Theatre) during the 1971 Indo-Pak war
    Bangladesh Liberation War
    The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

    .
  • Hindustan Ki Kasam
    Hindustan Ki Kasam
    Hindustan Ki Kasam is a 1973 war movie based on the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 directed by Chetan Anand.-Cast:*Chetan Anand*Vijay Anand*Raaj Kumar*Priya Rajvansh*Balraj Sahni*Padma Khanna*Amjad Khan*Amrish Puri*Parikshat Sahni*Bharat Kapoor...

    , a 1973 Bollywood
    Cinema of India
    The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

     war film
    War film
    War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

     directed by Chetan Anand. The aircraft in the film are all authentic aircraft used in the 1971 war against Pakistan. These include MiG-21s, Gnats, Hunters and Su-7s. Some of these aircraft were also flown by war veterans such as Samar Bikram Shah (2 kills) and Manbir Singh.
  • Aakraman
    Aakraman
    Aakraman is a 1975 Hindi war film. Produced by Jagdish Kumar and directed by J. Om Prakash. The war film stars Ashok Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha, Rakesh Roshan, Farida Jalal, Sujit Kumar, Asrani, Keshto Mukherjee, Mumtaz Shanti and Rajesh Khanna...

    , 1975 Bollywood film set during this war featuring a romantic Love triangle
    Love triangle
    A love triangle is usually a romantic relationship involving three people. While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two...

    .
  • 1971 - Prisoners of War, a 2007 Bollywood
    Cinema of India
    The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

     war film
    War film
    War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

     directed by Sagar Brothers. Set against the backdrop of a prisoners' camp in Pakistan, follows six Indian prisoners awaiting release after their capture in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

External links