New Delhi, Dec 16: The Indian Army won a war against Pakistan Army on December 16, 1971. The 13 day war began on December 3, 1971, and was the first war which the Indian Army conclusively won. Since then, this day is marked as Vijay Diwas (Vijay meaning victory, diwas meaning anniversary). While the win was also a result of the surrendering of the Pakistan Army, the war marks the courage and sacrifices of the Indian Army.
All about Vijay Diwas and what led to the Indo-Pak war of 1971
- Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan and it used to be referred as East Pakistan.
- In Pakistan’s 1970 general elections, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was a prominent leader in East Pakistan won the elections.
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who headed the largest party in West Pakistan, Pakistan’s Peoples’ Party, and said he would boycott the assembly and oppose the Government if the then President of Pakistan General Yahya Khan invited Mujibur Rehman.
- Mujibur started a civil disobedience movement and was soon arrested.
- Soon in March, 1971, the Pakistani military began a crackdown on the people form West Bengal which later turned into a genocide. This tormenting experience led to the formation of Mukti Bahini, a resistance force.
- Refugees from East Pakistan flooded India. This got the attention of then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Initially she restrained from getting involved in an attempt not to strengthen the claims of West Pakistan that such disturbances were an Indian conspiracy.
- As all diplomatic options were exhausted, India had to fight Pakistan.
- Before going to war India grew a consensus among the other countries and expressed how the refugee burden was unbearable.
- In a strategic move, to protect against the possible intervention of the United States of America and China in the war, India signed with the USSR the 20 year Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation.
- While India was reluctant to make the first move, it was planned that the war will begin on Dec 4. But in a surprise attack launched by Pakistan’s Air Force on eight military airfields of the Indian Air force.
- India immediately recognised Bangladesh and provided it strong military action. Hence, marking the beginning of the 1971 war.
- After 13 days, in association with Mukti Bahini, Indian soldiers fought the Pakistan Army. The defeated army was forced to surrender and the next day, an unilateral ceasefire finally ended the war.