1971 Indo-Pak War: US involvement

Discussion in 'Military History' started by LETHALFORCE, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Image Credit: REUTERS/B Mathur AH/AT
    India, Pakistan and the 1971 War POWs
    Indian POWs from the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 remain a sore point in bilateral relations.

    By Alastair Sloan
    August 01, 2015

    The Indian government is coming under pressure to lobby Pakistan for the release of 54 missing prisoners of war, held since the 1971 conflict. While 90,000 Pakistani troops were captured by the Indian Army at the end of the war, and then released as part of the Simla peace agreement, 54 Indian soldiers, officers and pilots continued to be held by Pakistan.

    Four and a half decades on, two British human rights lawyers are taking a case to the Supreme Court in Delhi on behalf of the missing men’s families. Successive Indian governments have done little to recover their missing military personnel – perhaps for fear of rocking an already fragile relationship between the two countries. The families are now hoping the Supreme Court judge will rule that the case be handed over for independent arbitration by the International Courts of Justice, a body backed by the United Nations Security Council.

    The families have approached both the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross in their four-and-a-half decade campaign, but neither body was able to offer assistance.

    Pakistan completely denied holding the prisoners until 1989, when then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto finally told visiting Indian officials that the men were in custody. Years later, Pervez Musharraf would go back on this, formally denying their existence while he was in office. Long periods of denial, with occasional but short-lived reversals in admitting culpability, have made the job of Indian officials lobbying for release much harder. The prisoners are believed to have been discussed at the latest meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, Russia.

    Captured Alive

    There is compelling evidence to suggest the men were captured alive.

    In 1972, Time Magazine published a photo showing one of the men behind bars in Pakistan. His family believed he had been killed the year before, but instantly recognized him.

    The same year, a photo of another captured infantry officer was published by a local paper. It appeared to have been taken inside a Pakistani prison and smuggled out.

    In her biography of Benazir Bhutto, British historian Victoria Schoffield reported that a Pakistani lawyer had been told that Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore was housing Indian prisoners of war “from the 1971 conflict.” They could be heard screaming from behind a wall, according to an eyewitness account from within the prison.

    Pakistani media outlets have also alluded to the men’s existence. The shooting down of Wing Commander Hersern Gill’s Mig 21 on December 13, 1971 was followed that day by a radio broadcast, in which a military spokesperson claimed that an “ace Indian pilot” had been captured. Gill had led a four-plane sortie into Pakistani territory, but the planes had missed their targets. Returning to Indian airspace, Gill suddenly turned back to take another run, alone.

    Once back in Pakistani territory, and closing in on his target, he was shot down by ground fire, but according to Indian Air Force sources, he may have managed to glide to a safe landing. Shortly after that, he appears to have been captured.

    An American general, Chuck Yeager, also revealed in an autobiography that during the 1971 war, he had personally interviewed Indian pilots captured by the Pakistanis. The airmen were of particular interest to the Americans because, at the height of the Cold War, the men had attended training in Russia and were flying Soviet designed and manufactured aircraft.

    The families also claim that on the only two occasions when the Pakistani authorities have allowed them to visit Pakistani jails, prison guards privately attested to the men being alive – before more senior Pakistani officials ushered the relatives away.

    One family member speaking to The Diplomat described these tours as “a sham,” saying they were carefully stage managed. The family member suspected the prisoners had been moved so as not to be discovered. A separate testimony from a released prisoner-of-war describes the prisoners being moved regularly between seven separate prisons, while another witness claims the men were at one point held in secret cells under Bahawalnagar Airport.

    Behind Closed Doors

    It took until 1978 for the Indian authorities to finally publish a list of the missing. The approach of the government since has generally been to negotiate behind closed doors and make limited announcements to the media.

    A letter from the Indian ambassador in Islamabad, dated March 1984 and seen by The Diplomat, advises a family member: “We have to continue our efforts in a discrete fashion because any premature publicity can harm our overall cause.” Further memos circulated by the Islamabad embassy, also seen by The Diplomat, claim high-level conversations have taken place privately on a number of occasions, always instigated by Indian officials, but the Pakistani government continues to officially deny the men’s existence, making progress difficult. A memo between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her ambassador in Islamabad suggests the matter was being discussed behind closed doors, yet it is hard to know how seriously the Indians were actually pushing for release, as the minutes were private.

    Still, the families remain disappointed with the Indian government’s performance.

    “They should have been released when the 90,000 Pakistanis were released,” says Rajwant Kaur, sister of one of the missing. She remembers her brother flying low over their house close by to the military airfield, and him dropping her at the airport as she flew to meet her new husband in the United Kingdom. That was the last time she saw him. He had volunteered to do a third operational tour. “He didn’t need to go again,” Kaur remembers. “I’m very angry at the Indian government,” she adds, claiming they simply “hadn’t bothered” to secure the release of their own men when hostilities ended.

    Analysts have mixed views on what impact the Supreme Court case could have on relations — currently overshadowed by terror attacks, and the release on bail of a Taliban leader thought to have orchestrated the deadly Mumbai shootings. Last month, Khalistani separatists launched a terrorist attack in Punjab province, with many Indians believing the attacks were supported by the Pakistani intelligence services.

    Harsh Pant, a leading scholar in international relations at Kings College London’s India Institute, sees the missing prisoners of war as an opportunity for reconciliation.

    “The relationship has been in limbo for a long time, and there is now an appetite both from Prime Ministers Modi and Sharif to try and move things forward. The PoWs case probably won’t change realities on the ground too much, but it could change public perceptions of the talks and help build confidence,” he argues, adding that Pakistan had probably held back the prisoners as political leverage. “It’s a humanitarian case, so it’s very unseemly of both governments.”

    ‘Pregnant With Dereliction’

    Raoof Hasan, executive president of the Regional Peace Institute in Islamabad, which conducts civil society diplomacy efforts between the two countries, was damning of both governments, saying the virtual silence over four and a half decades was “pregnant with dereliction.” He argued the Indian government had failed in their duty to retrieve the personnel, but is skeptical that even with an International Court of Justice ruling, the case would move forward, saying Pakistan had already shown itself willing to “violate international norms.”

    “Any new outcomes would be hugely embarrassing for both; nevertheless the best course remains back-channel efforts,” Hasan told The Diplomat, adding that his organization would now be offering its support to try and broker a deal.

    “Taking the case to the International Court of Justice is a good idea,” says Zubair Ghouri, a Pakistan security analyst and author of The Media-Terrorism Symbiosis: A Case Study of the Mumbai Attacks. Like Hasan, Ghouri believes that “with recent events, this is not an issue that could be brought up in front-line diplomacy, but it could still be sorted out via back channels.”

    “The 1971 war is still taken very seriously,” Ghouri explains. “Simla was a humiliating agreement Pakistan was forced to sign. If there is any truth to the PoW claims, the Pakistani government may be engaged.”

    Maroof Raza, editor of Fauji India magazine and a leading Indian defense analyst, says the release of the prisoners would be “a great humanitarian gesture” by Pakistan, but believes it would not help improve relations — thanks to bad blood over the Kargil War and Mumbai attacks.

    “To improve any relations,” Raza told The Diplomat, the Pakistani polity has to “show definite intent in containing cross-border terrorism by its so-called non-state actors.”

    Key witnesses giving evidence to the Supreme Court trial, who can’t be named for legal reasons, told The Diplomat they have already been approached by Indian military personnel offering bribes to withdraw their testimony. Another relative claims that former Army comrades had warned her to “drop it, they’re dead – time to move on.” Though the Indian government has been reticent for diplomatic reasons, there may have been military errors made leading to the men’s capture which current or retired soldiers want covered up.

    Though no date has been firmly set, the case is expected to proceed later this month.

    Alastair Sloan is a London-based journalist focused on human rights and injustice. You can follow him on Twitter @AlastairSloan.

    http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/india-pakistan-and-the-1971-war-pows/
     
  2. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Remembering the Indian pilots’ historic prison break from Pakistan in 1971


    http://social.yourstory.com/2016/01/dilip-parulkar/

    During the 1971 war, the Pakistani army had taken 16 Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots as war prisoners and held them captive in a camp near Rawalpindi. Three of them undertook the most dangerous prison break in the history of the IAF. This is their story.

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    (L-R): Dilip Parulkar, M S Grewal, Harish Sinhji. Image Credit – Rediff
    During the war, 16 IAF pilots were taken as Prisoners of War (PoW). One of them, Group Captain Dilip Parulkar, then Flight Lieutenant, decided to make it the adventure of a lifetime, inspiring two more prisoners, Flight Lieutenant M S Grewal and Flying Officer Harish Sinhji, to join him.

    Although the war had ended, they were still held PoW. Dilip Parulkar believed that ‘a war is not over until you are back home,’ and started looking for ways to escape. Meanwhile, a Pakistani PoW was gunned down in India and the fear of a retaliatory response was slowly gripping. He and his prison mates dug a hole across the wall and fled. They reached Peshawar in a few hours.

    If they had headed back towards India, they would have had to wriggle past two armies shooting at each other. It was better to head north. While inspecting a map in Peshawar, it struck them that the town Torkham on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was only 34 miles away.

    They believed, as reported by Rediff, that if they were quick enough to reach Jamrud, they will cross the border and reach Afghanistan uncaught. They had saved their PoW allowance along with their salary in India, and were able to buy enough supplies to sustain them. They took a bus and later a tonga to hit the Jamurd road.

    Adventuring through Pakistan’s ‘wild west’, facing hardships and deceiving many, their life was not to become easy. Their map deceived them. The three pilots kept asking for Landi Khana, a railway station that was closed by the British back in 1932. Many around knew that. Had they not raised suspicion, the trio’s plan to breathe in freedom would have been successful.

    They were soon caught and brought to the local Tehsildar. “So I told the Tehsildar we are airmen from the Pakistan Air Force station in Lahore, and that I wanted to talk to the ADC or to the chief of air staff. We told him we are on 10 days’ casual leave and we are going up to Landi Khana as tourists, just trekking, sightseeing. He said no, we are going to lock you up,” Dilip Parulkar recalls in an interview with The Indian Express.

    The three prisoners, insisting on their disguised identity, continued to push for call to ADC Peshawar. Reluctantly, the Tehsildar agreed. The prisoners called the ADC and complained. Parulkar recalls, “He was aghast. He said, ‘Dilip, Dilip, what are you doing there in Landi Kotal?’. I said ‘Sir, we just took a little casual leave, and that’s how we are here, and look at this…’. He said, ‘Give the phone to the Tehsildar’. I gave him the phone. He very calmly told him, ‘Ye hamare aadmi hain (These are our men)’.”

    The ADC, although convinced, did not want to take any risk. The three pilots were held captive until complete identification. Soon, they were identified as IAF pilots. The three brave jawans were caught only five miles from their freedom, and taken back to Peshawar.

    Three months later, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, then premier of Pakistan, addressed the PoWs and declared their repatriation. The returnees received a hero’s welcome at the Wagah border on December 1, 1972. Their prison break story had reached home before them.

    The story of Group Captain Dilip Parulkar’s prison break is being developed into a film by Taranjiet Singh Namdhari, and is being released this Republic Day. Stay tuned for further announcements on the film’s Facebook page.

    To stay updated with more positive news, please connect with us on Facebook.
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...mbed-in-1971-Headley/articleshow/51555068.cms

    Hated India since my school was bombed in 1971: Headley

    MUMBAI: "I hate India and Indians since childhood and wanted to cause maximum damage," said David Headley on Friday. His words, clearly enunciated in his booming baritone, came via a videoconference link in a chilling response during his cross-examination, from the air-conditioned confines of a room in the US, where he was seated on a cushioned swivel chair, in between his lawyer and a prosecution advocate, three red paper cups on a table in front of each.

    The US national of Pakistani descent is serving a 35-year term prison in the US for plotting and planning the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people, including US citizens. He is now an accused-turned-approver, in the trial of suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the 26/11 terror case.

    On Day 3 of his cross-examination by Jundal's defence lawyer, Headley denied he was in the control room in Karachi or gave instructions to the terrorists during the attacks.

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    "Yes, I already pleaded guilty to that," he said, betraying no emotion as he leaned back, dressed in a grey sweat shirt, blue slip-ons with a white sole, when asked by Jundal's lawyer Wahab Khan if he wanted to cause maximum damage to India. Across the room, on a smaller television screen, Jundal sat in a non-AC room on a wooden bench, walls and floor recently painted, hands rested on a small table covered with a white cloth, silently listening in on the six-hour long deposition with couple of coffee breaks. However, in the first break, he told Khan to ask the few questions he had prepared.

    "When my school was bombed on December 7, 1971, is when the feelings (of hatred) developed," said Headley. He asked the "relevance" of the next question on "who bombed the schools" before answering, "Indian planes". The reference was clearly to the Indo-Pak war. "My school was destroyed and people there died," said the 55-year-old who was 11 then. It was "one of the reasons" why he joined LeT, he admitted.


    Why did he want to fight in Kashmir? To this question from Khan, which he had already answered in the main deposition to special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam he shot back with, "Am not on trial here. Why do you keep asking these questions again.'' When special judge G A Sanap said, "you are a witness, not accused here'' he calmed down and said, "it was to assist the people in Kashmir in the conflict between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.'' Khan persisted and Headley said, "I wanted to go with LeT people and fight the troops there.''




    Earlier to series of questions on plea bargaining and "terms put by FBI", Headley retorted "whatever is there is reflected in the agreement" which he said were decided by his attorney and prosecutors and denied he sought the bar on his extradition to other countries, including India. Judge Sanap asked him not to lose his patience. It was 90 minute into the cross. Headley said, "I won't," before looking at Khan and saying, "Main bahaut kharab insaan hoon. Main maan gaya hoon. Aap fir se ye sabit karna chahate ho. I have already pleaded guilty. (I am a very bad person. I have accepted that. You are trying to establish it again).
    Top Comment
    Too bad the planes missed him in the bombing.Booby


    Nikam objected to a question where Khan asked if he was ready to face trial in India, apprehending that Headley may lose his cool and 'insult' the defence lawyer. When Khan persisted with "you never intended to come to India to face trial" Headley again answered, "India ana, ki nahin ana (to come to India or not) that was never an issue". Headley, arrested in 2009, had trained with LeT and done a reconnaissance of terror targets in Mumbai and entry points for the 10 terrorists. The US spared him the maximum sentence of death that the terror and murder charges against him attracted, after he admitted his guilt and revealed information.




    Headley said despite the FBI quizzing his relatives in Philadelphia about his whereabouts in December 2008, he was "only curious" and continued to travel to India to recce Delhi and also continued with the 'Mickey Mouse project' — the Denmark attack plan.


     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...he-1971-Indo-Pak-war/articleshow/55617289.cms

    Henry Kissinger's stunning revelations about Pakistan in the lead up to the 1971 Indo-Pak war


    ISLAMABAD: Under US pressure, Pakistan had in November agreed to grant independence to what was then East Pakistan, former US diplomat Henry Kissinger has revealed in an interview in the latest issue of The Atlantic magazine.

    Instead, Pakistan attacked India a month later, on December 3, 1971, forcing India to retaliate and eventually joined forces with East Pakistan in what would become the Bangladesh Liberation War.

    Kissinger's revelation only confirms that Pakistan appears to have a long history of breaking promises.

    If Islamabad genuinely wanted to give East Pakistan autonomy, its air force wouldn't have attacked the Indian Air Force's forward airbases and radar installations under 'Operation Chengiz Khan.' That attack led to India's entry into the war of independence in East Pakistan on the moral side of Bangladeshi nationalist forces.

    Kissinger, who in 1971 was US National Security Adviser, said that the US couldn't directly condemn Pakistan's "gross human-rights violations" in East Pakistan as it was using Islamabad as an interlocutor to open diplomatic relations with China.

    "To condemn these violations publicly would have destroyed the Pakistani channel, which would be needed for months to complete the opening to China ... After the opening to China via Pakistan, America engaged in increasingly urging Pakistan to grant autonomy to Bangladesh. In November, the Pakistani president agreed with (then US President) Nixon to grant independence the following March," Nixon said in the interview to the
    To be sure, both Pakistan and China still aren't exactly exemplars of democracy and flourishing human rights.

    By Kissinger's own admission, it was a fraught moment in history for US foreign policy.
     
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  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  7. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Kissinger is truly a diplomat who lies, mostly. He did not have guts to publish his memoirs (lies) when Nixon was alive.

    Yes, Nixon favoured Pakistan and he hated Indira Gandhi. But in the process, Kissinger later published an account twisted truth and attributed it to Nixon.

    No bombing of India was up in Nixon mind. He wished to intimidate India, but Kissinger attributes it to be a direct threat. Nixon was no fool. He was fully aware that Soviet Fleet both from Mediterranean and Valdivastic have left for Indian Ocean. The nuclear subs got their first without Americans knowning that. They surfaced and let them know that they mean business. Americans in Bay of Bengal and British in Arabian Sea beat a hasty retreat.
     
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  8. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Well it looks like it, These were captured once and not just few but alot of these and used by Ghost Regiment after the War like in UN mission, This can be only possible if their are other vehicles of the same type for spares and being canabalised to keep few operational ..

    ===========================>>

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