Vijay Diwas 1971: Recounting the story of India's victory, Pak surrender, Bangladesh freedom
New Delhi, Dec 16: December 16 is celebrated as Vijay Diwas every year in India. It is a significant day for India and its neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In 1971, India won the war against Pakistan that resulted in the formation of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). On this day, 48 years ago, 93,000 members of Pakistani troops raised white flags and surrendered to Indian Army and Mukti Bahini, calling an end to the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
Pakistan lost half its country, its forces in the East, and had to publicly surrender to India. It was also the largest military surrender after World War II.
Facts about 1971 war:
- The war started when Pakistan launched airstrikes on 11 Indian airbases. It was perhaps the first time in which India's all three forces fought in unison.
- India quickly responded to Pakistan Army's movements in the west and captured around 15,010 kilometres of Pakistan territory.
- On December 3, 1971, Pakistan attacked around 11 Indian airfields which led to the starting of the Indo-Pak war.
- During the 1971 India and Pakistan war, Indira Gandhi was the prime minister.
- The 1971 war was concluded in just 13 days, one of the shortest wars in history.
- Bangladesh is believed to be the country that was created after World War II.
- The Air Force jets bombed on the PAF airfields that disabled Pakistan to attack through the airfield.
- Indian Air Force had executed more than 500 sorties in a day which is believed to be more than in World War II.
- Pakistan Army Commander Lt Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered around 93,000 Pakistani soldiers to the Indian Army.
- Pakistan had also attacked all fronts. Islamabad attacked Longewala in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan.
- Over nine million refugees entered India during the brutality.
- The war lasted for just 13 days and is one of the shortest wars in history.
- The military confrontation between India and Pakistan occurred from 3 December 1971 to the fall of Dacca (Dhaka) on 16 December 1971.
- Over 3,800 soldiers of India and Pakistan lost their lives in this war to end the genocide Pakistan had been conducting against the Bengali population of East Pakistan.
- It is estimated that between 300,000 and 3,000,000 civilians were killed in Bangladesh. Rape, torture, killings and conflicts followed due to which eight to ten million people fled the country to seek refuge in India.
- Indira Gandhi was reluctant to launch a full-scale war against Pakistan as the country was already facing the burden due to the continuous flow of refugees from East Pakistan and entering a war meant inviting more burden.
- On December 6, Indira Gandhi announced in Parliament that India had accorded recognition to the Bangladesh Government.
- On August 2, 1972, India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement under which the former agreed to release all the 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war.