New Delhi, Dec 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid tributes to the armed forces for their valour and sacrifice in the 1971 war with Pakistan on the occasion of Bangladesh Liberation Day. Forty-five years ago, on this day, Pakistani Commander Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered to India's Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora at the Dhaka Race Course.
"Vijay Diwas is a fitting reminder of the valour and sacrifice of all those who fought courageously in the 1971 war. Tributes to them," he said.
The war, which commenced on December 3, 1971 and concluded on December 16, 1971 ended in a crushing defeat of the Pakistan armed forces, and led to the creation of Bangladesh (Then East Pakistan). The war began with Pakistan attacking 11 Indian airbases in the western front which forced India to enter the war in support of Bangladeshi nationalist forces.
The war was the result of unfair treatment meted out to East Pakistan by the Pakistan (West) after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won the 1970 elections Rahman-led East Pakistani Awami League won 167 of 169 seats from East Pakistan and secured an absolute majority in the 313-seat Pakistan Parliament.
The then President of Pakistan Yahya Khan sent the army to suppress East Pakistan. The atrocities by the military led almost 10 million people to flee East Pakistan and take refuge in neighbouring Indian states.
After failing to get the response from the international community, the Indian government came out in support of the Independence struggle of the people of East Pakistan. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked the then Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, Sam Manekshaw, to prepare for war. Manekshaw asked for time for war preparation, which was granted.
The war lasted for 13 days and culminated in Pakistan Army's Lt. Gen AAK Niazi signing on the surrender documents in presence of Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in-chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army.