Bangladesh Liberation War 1971

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by EnlightenedMonk, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Different perspectives of the 1971 war

    Hey there guys,

    Started this thread so that the different perspectives of the 1971 war could be discussed here. We can discuss about the people, the skirmishes, the tactics associated with the war and what each side learnt from it.

    I would request everybody not to give nationalistic rantings and try to keep the discussion civilized and as neutral as possible.

    I am myself going to start this by posting two opinions.

    • One about the great Field Marshal Manekshaw by a Pakistani officer
    • Second about the little known General J F R Jacob. This one written by a Jewish Reporter.
  3. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    A view from Pakistan - Manekshaw's War

    By Commodore (retired) Najeeb Anjum for The Dawn, Pakistan
  4. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Jewish General who led Indian Army to victory in the 1971 war

  5. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Report by Marine Corps - Part 1

    Author: KYLE, R.G., Major, Royal Canadian Artillery
    Title: Indian-Pakistan War of 1971: A Modern War
    Publisher: Marine Corps Command and Staff College


    This paper examines the origins, conduct and results of
    the war between India and Pakistan of 1971 from which the
    nation of Bangla Desh emerged. The study compares the
    development of religion, culture and economy in East and
    West Pakistan which led to the frustration of Bengali
    nationalism within the "Islamic Nation" founded in 1947.
    The role of the military government from 1958 to 1971 is
    also examined to show how its activities further alienated
    the people of East Pakistan and contributed to both the
    rebellion there and the weakening of its own military

    The second part of the study examines the development
    of guerrilla war in East Pakistan between March and December
    1971. The Political and Military organization of the
    insurgents is analysed along with the counter-insurgency
    actions of the government forces. The effects of the war on
    India and the policies that nation developed to deal with it
    are also analyzed. The roles played by the United States,
    China, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations in the
    conflict are studied.

    The study goes on the analyze the military operations
    of India and Pakistan during the fourteen days of
    conventional war between them. Finally, conclusions are
    drawn concerning the conditions which precipitated the
    conflict and the reasons for the success of the Bengali and
    Indian forces.

    No primary sources of information were available for
    this study. Therefore, the author relied heavily on
    articles in military journals as well as several books on
    the subject.
  6. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 2


    When Pakistan was formed in 1947, it was a result of
    Islamic nationalism of the Moslems of India. Islam had been
    introduced to the Indian sub-continent following the Afghan-
    Turkish conquest in the 13th century. A large part of the
    native population in the area of East Bengal was peacefully
    coverted from Hindu to Islam in the following two centuries.

    In the 16th century the Moslem sultanate of Bengal was
    absorbed into the north Indian Mughal empire. The Moslem
    rulers of the empire were non-Bengali. Their culture was
    based on Arabic and Persian influences, and the Urdu
    language. Socially, Bengal was divided into a Bengali
    Moslem peasantry and a Persianized Urdu speaking ruling
    class. 1/

    In 1764 the English East India Company succeeded the
    Mughals as the government of Bengal. The British rule
    encouraged the rise of the Hindu commercial class in Bengal
    while the former Urdu-speaking Moslem rulers and landowners
    were displaced from their positions of power. In this
    climate Bengali culture during the 19th century developed in
    a new direction led by the Hindu elite and influenced by the
    emerging middle-class of Bengali-speaking Moslems. The
    Bengali-speaking Moslems became increasingly conscious of
    their ethnic identity and nationalism throughout the 19th
    century. For their part, the British were gradually
    loosening restrictions on local institutions and government:

    Hindu dominated schools and the secular university of
    Calcutta played their part in developing Bengali identity
    among the Bengali-speaking Moslems. To counter the
    continuing loss of position and status, in 1906 the Urdu-
    speaking Moslems established the first modern political
    movement among the Moslems of India called the All-India
    Moslem League. 2/

    The concept of a separate state of Pakistan did not
    develop until the 1930's when India grew closer to self-
    government. By 1937 there were two political parties in
    Bengal which formed a coalition provincial government. The
    first was a radical peasants and tenants party backed by
    Bengali-speaking Moslems, while the other was the more
    conservative Moslem League representing the Urdu-speaking
    Moslems. This government proposed the "Pakistan Resolution"
    calling for the regions of Northwest and Eastern zones of
    India where there was a Moslem majority to be grouped into
    independent states that would be autonomous and sovereign.

    A federation of 12 to 14 states with strong local
    governments was envisioned.

    Bengal became a war zone during World War II. As well,
    in 1943 a famine took more than two million lives. The
    destruction and sacrifices of these catastrophes increased
    the nationalism and solidarity of the Moslem population in
    Eastern India. Support for the "Pakistan Resolution" and
    the Moslem League swelled. On August 14, 1947, the nation
    of Pakistan was created from the regions of India having a
    Moslem majority. Two states, Bengal in the East and Punjab
    in the West, were divided into Hindu and Moslem regions.
    Only the Moslem sections were included into Pakistan.
    Pakistan itself had two wings separated by 1,000 miles of
    Indian land.

    The partition of Bengal led to the restoration of power
    to the traditional Urdu-speaking Moslems who had led the
    Moslem League. However, this elite could only be sustained
    by the active support of the Urdu-speakers who controlled
    West Pakistan. While the Moslem League had sustained Moslem
    nationalism in Bengal during the previous decade, it could
    not provide a focus and support for the nationalism which
    continued to be a potent force among Bengali Moslems. 3/

    In East Pakistan, the Bengali-speaking Moslem middle-
    class was an important social force. This class comprised
    small land owners, professionals and traders. They had a
    deep loyalty to Bengali culture, and respect for
    parliamentary tradition and the rule of law. In West
    Pakistan, land holdings were larger and concentrated in the
    hands of fewer people. Power was essentially vested in a
    plutocratic and feudal system. West Pakistan had a
    population of 42.9 million in an area six times larger than
    East Pakistan: East Pakistan had a population of 50.8
    million (1961 census). The two parts of Pakistan were
    separated by about 1,000 miles and, because of hostilities
    with India, it was impossible to maintain land or air
    communications across the intervening Indian territory. Air
    and sea communications routes were 3,000 miles around the
    southern tip of India. The two wings of Pakistan had
    a religious belief in Islam in common, but the significant
    geographic and social differences increasingly divided the
    two wings. 4/

    When Pakistan was formed in 1947, it was to be an
    Islamic nation. However, the political institutions of the
    new nation and the way they would function were left
    undefined. The East and West wings could not agree on a
    constitution defining the political institutions before the
    deadline date for independence. The constitution was left
    to be sorted out by the new nation itself, but the different
    political traditions and aspirations of the East and West
    wings were to be the source of serious, continuing friction.

    The British had ruled India (including the territories
    making up Pakistan) with a strong central government under
    the Viceroy. However, the province of Bengal had developed
    a provincial democratic parliamentary system much more
    advanced than that of the northwestern provinces. For a
    viable constitution these two traditions had to be
    reconciled within the concept of the Islamic nation. As
    well, the British since 1905, had designed the provincial
    representative institutions on the basis of separate
    electorates for members of the main religious groups --
    Moslem and Hindu. West Pakistan had the majority of Moslems
    (42.9 million) in the new nation since about one fifth of
    the population (10 million of 50.8 million) of East Pakistan
    was Hindu. If Pakistan was to continue the tradition of
    separate electorates, then West Pakistan would dominate.
    But if a single electorate was constituted, then East
    Pakistan would dominate while owing its control to its Hindu
    minority. Thus, from the beginning, the Islamic nation
    concept involved friction between the nationalism and power
    of different cultural and social communities within the
    state. 5/

    For the next seven years, the National Assembly in
    Karachi wrestled with the drafting of a constitution.
    However, by 1952 Bengali nationalism was reasserting itself
    in a number of political parties, the most important being
    the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman.

    In provincial elections in 1954 the conservative Moslem
    League was swept from power in East Pakistan by a coalition
    of Bengali nationalist parties. When the new government
    leader, Fazlul Haq, of East Pakistan made a speech
    supporting the reunification of the old province of Bengal,
    the national government in Karachi dismissed the provincial
    cabinet and imposed Governor's rule. Any large increase of
    non-Moslem population in East Pakistan (such as that of West
    Bengal) would have further unbalanced the power between East
    and West Pakistan as well as brought a real threat of war
    with India. With the endless constitutional debate and
    steady deterioration of the cohesion of Pakistan, the
    President of Pakistan dismissed the National Assembly.
    Under threat of imposition of military rule a cabinet with
    members drawn from various sections of political opinion was
    appointed and tasked to frame a constitution.

    By 1956 a constitution had been drafted which included
    the concept of parity and equal status between the two
    communities of East and West Pakistan. This concept had the
    support of most leaders in East Pakistan. While the
    arrangement did not go as far as the original resolution of
    1937 which called for "autonomous and sovereign" states, it
    did maintain a political balance between East and West.
    However, West Pakistan comprised fourteen states of the old
    India of which the Punjab was the largest it would dominate
    the affairs of West Pakistan: the politicians in the West
    could not agree to accept this arrangement. Although the
    constitution was proclaimed law, elections were never held.
    In 1958 the President, Islamabad Mirza, abrogated the
    constitution, and he was soon deposed by the Army Chief of
    Staff, General Ayub Khan, who proclaimed martial law. The
    army had moved to fill the power vacuum created by the lack
    of workable political institutions. 6/

    The military government of General Ayub concentrated
    power toward a central executive government. A new
    constitution was proclaimed in 1962 replacing sovereignty of
    the people with the sovereignty of Allah. Effective
    electoral power was given to an equal number of nobilities
    from both wings of the nation, but the national and
    provincial legislatures were given only minor powers. Most
    powers were concentrated in the presidential executive
    located in Karachi. General Ayub had created an autocratic
    government in the tradition of the Urdu-speaking Moslems.
    The Bengali movement for autonomy of East Pakistan was left
    virtually without influence or power.

    In the period 1960-1970, the Bengali's felt dominated
    economically as well as politically by West Pakistan. East
    Bengal lacked natural resources, was remote from main trade
    routes, and was limited by a large expanding population
    which was difficult to feed. The main exports were jute and
    tea. Traditionally, these crops were exported to West
    Bengal in exchange of manufactured goods. After partition
    in 1947, the economic dependence on West Bengal was shifted
    to West Pakistan. Here the central managers controlled the
    foreign exchange earned by the exports as well as foreign
    aid and foreign investment. In West Pakistan, the per
    capita income was 61% higher than in East Pakistan. The
    Bengalis resented the faster growth and higher incomes of
    the West. They tended to blame the much higher proportion
    of West Pakistanis in the civil and armed services and many
    of the professions for diverting wealth to the West which
    was generated in the East.

    As resentment was growing, India and Pakistan went to
    war over Kashmir in 1965. This conflict ended in stalemate
    but it demonstrated the vulnerability of East Pakistan. The
    complete cessation of economic activity with India hurt East
    Pakistan and reinforced the Bengalis sense of economic
    domination from West Pakistan. 7/

    The resentment toward West Pakistan fed growing support
    for the Awami League. By 1967 the League had adopted a six-
    point manifesto aimed at economic and political autonomy for
    East Pakistan. According to the manifesto the central
    government should only retain control of foreign affairs and
    defense while the provincial government should control
    economic, taxation, trade and foreign aid policies.

    The economic expansion in West Pakistan was also
    producing social strains there. Radical socialists competed
    with the traditional land-owning elites on which the
    government and army were based. By 1968, strong support for
    Ali Bhutto's radical Peoples Party emerged in the West wing.
    The party's support was based on social justice for the
    "common man" and hostility toward India. It was also
    opposed to any action which would reduce the political and
    economic status of West Pakistan.

    In the rising tide of opposition to his policies,
    General Ayub called a conference of political leaders to
    resolve the most pressing conflicts. However, no settlement
    was reached. General Ayub resigned on 26 March 1969 to be
    replaced by General Yahya Khan, Commander-in-Chief of the
    army. The constitution was again suspended. Pakistan had
    reverted back to the position it was at in 1958.

    General Yahya quickly promulgated a set of decisions
    aimed at reducing political tensions in both wings of the
    country. The first addressed the major grievance of East
    Pakistan: national elections would be held by December 1970
    based on a common electorate in both wings to give East
    Pakistan a majority of seats. The second regrouped the 14
    political regions of West Pakistan into four provinces more
    equal in political power to the Punjab. Later General Yahya
    expanded on these decisions with an outline for the transfer
    of power from military government to constitutional

    a. A new constitution had to be prepared by
    the national assembly within 120 days after being
    called into session.
    b. The constitution had to conform to certain
    principles which included: a provision that the
    territorial integrity and national solidarity of
    Pakistan should be respected; and a federation
    should be established in which provinces would
    have maximum autonomy but, the federal government
    would have adequate powers to carry out its
    responsibilities for external and internal affairs
    and to preserve the independence and territorial
    integrity of the country.
    c. To ensure that the constitution conformed
    to the principles, it had to be approved by the

    With these decisions, General Yahya probably intended
    to achieve some popular support for the military regime
    after the long period of confusion of General Ayub's rule.
    The guidelines for the constitution also gave protection to
    the central power of armed forces. With the cooperation of
    the Bengali members, the army could thwart Mr. Bhutto's
    radical Peoples Party in West Pakistan. 8/
  7. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 3

    These guidelines were generally acceptable to the
    civilian political leaders in both the East and West. As
    the election approached, the two most active parties were
    Sheikh Mijib's Awami League and Ali Bhutto's People's Party.
    The results of the election, however, sent shock waves
    through the nation. Of the 313 total seats in the assembly,
    the Awami League took 167, a solid majority, all from the
    East. Mr. Bhutto's party took 85 seats, all in the west. 9/
    The Islamic parties of the old elite were decisively
    defeated in both wings, and with this defeat went any hopes
    the old elite and the army had of influencing the actions of
    the assembly. With a parliamentary majority the Awami
    League did not need the army or the old traditional parties
    to win support for a draft constitution reflecting the
    Bengali concept of autonomy within Pakistani federation.
    Admittedly, President Yahya would have final approval of the
    constitution, but the results of the election clearly
    reflected an overwhelming demand for reform. The President
    could draw little comfort from the opposition of Ali Bhutto
    in the Assembly. The Peoples Party was equally anxious to
    draft a constitution which limited the traditional powers of
    the army and the Moslem elites. Again power was split
    between the two geographic regions of the nation. 10/

    The strong position of the Awami League persuaded many
    supporters that there need be no retreat from the manifesto
    adopted four years earlier demanding virtual economic
    sovereignty for East Pakistan. This degree of autonomy was
    unacceptable to the military government as well as Ali
    Bhutto's party. There was stalemate again.

    The military government of General Yahya was highly
    centralized but not particularly sensitive to the political
    currents of the civil population. Senior officers held key
    positions in both the civil and military administrative
    systems. These systems were largely parallel and often
    competitive for power. At the top, Yahya held the offices
    of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Chief Martial Law
    Administrator, President and Supreme Commander, Minister of
    Defense and Minister of foreign Affairs. Yahya
    theoritically had enormous scope for initiative, but the
    elite of the army had considerable power which Yahya had to
    take into account along with the political factions of the
    country. Within the army, opinion generally belonged in one
    of three positions: the center, including Yahya, hoped to
    transfer power to a civil government headed by Sheikh Mujib
    (Awami League) while retaining a special position for the
    armed forces; the right, including many senior officers,
    hoped to retain the power of the armed forces and opposed
    any move toward more autonomy of the provinces and the
    social policies of Mr. Bhutto's People's Party; finally, the
    left, including many junior officers, combined a strong
    nationalist feeling with social opinion leaning toward Mr.
    Bhutto's party. The left and the right grew toward a
    consensus opposed to any concession to the Awami League
    which would weaken the power of the central government. 11/

    General Yahya appears to have been unable to reconcile
    the widely differing views both within the armed services
    and the various political factions. Although Sheikhs
    Mujib's party had decisively won the election and therefore
    felt it had the right to form the national government, it
    could do nothing until the President called the assembly
    into session. This Yahya refused to do until the Sheikh
    softened his stand on autonomy as stated in the Awami
    Leaguer's manifesto. The League, sensing power, refused to
    give any concession. Talks between President Yahya, Bhutto
    and the Sheikh continued through January 1971, but no
    agreement was reached. Finally, on February 13, 1971 Yahya
    summoned the Assembly to meet on March 3, 1971. Bhutto
    immediately announced his party, with 85 seats, would
    boycott the session unless all parties reached a consensus
    on an outline constitution before the Assembly met. On
    March 1, 1971, President Yahya agreed with Mr. Bhutto and
    announced that the Assembly session was postponed
    indefinitely. 12/

    The postponement of the Assembly session was followed
    by widescale rioting and demonstrations throughout East
    Pakistan. Sheikh Mujib called a series of general strikes
    to demonstrate that East Pakistan would be ungovernable
    unless the Assembly was called into session. 13/ It is
    unlikely that the civil disorder came as a surprise to the
    government for it had been reinforcing the military
    garrisons in East Pakistan since mid-February. However,
    throughout March, Yahya and Mujib engaged in a complicated
    series of negotiations in which some concessions were made.
    But on March 25, 1971, Yahya suddenly broke off talks and
    left for Islamabad. At the same time the army, which had
    been brought up to strength of 40,000 in the East, moved
    against the Bengali police, Bengali-manned army units and
    other paramilitary forces. Sheikh Mujib was arrested along
    with many other Awami League leaders. Newspaper offices
    were seized and university halls attacked and occupied. It
    seemed that Yahya had used the last session of negotiations
    as pretext to allow time for the army to be brought up to
    sufficient strength to overwhelm Bengali opposition. 14/
    The drive for political and economic autonomy of the
    Bengali people entered a new phase. The efforts to win
    power through the election process and parliamentary system
    were a complete failure. The central military government
    was incapable of reconciling the aspirations of the Bengalis
    with social reform pressures of the West Pakistanis and the
    traditional elitism of the Urdu-speaking Moslems. Military
    repression of the Bengali nationalist movement followed.
    The Bengali Moslems had a common religion with the Urdu-
    speaking Moslems of the West, but social and political
    traditions, as well as language and economic base, were
    quite different. When Pakistan was formed as an Islamic
    nation in 1947, there was no consensus on the form its
    political institutions should take. The Moslem states in
    the West were governed by traditional elitists who
    considered strong federal government essential to preserve
    Islamic ideals. The Bengali Moslems' aspirations for more
    democratic institutions responsive to regional politics
    would not be accommodated by those in the West. At the same
    time, demands for social reform in the West by lower-classes
    went unheeded.

    After more than ten years of political stalemate, the
    armed forces, in particular the army, seized power to break
    the political deadlock. The officers of the army were
    largely drawn from the traditional Moslem elite of the West.
    Their administration was highly centralized and emphasized
    the economic development as well as the social welfare of
    the West and the Urdu-speaking traditional Moslems. This
    administration only added to the frustration of the Bengalis
    who increasingly saw East Pakistan as an economic and
    cultural colony of the West. Indeed, the poorer classes of
    people of the West also became increasingly disaffected as
    they received little benefit from the economic and social
    policies of the army administration. By 1971, after 12
    years of military rule, Pakistan was even further from
    political unity than it was in 1958.

    The years of military rule also had a deleterious
    effect on military capability. Government administration
    detracted from the professional education of the officers as
    well as the combat training of the army as a whole.
    Political factions appeared in the army which probably
    detracted from the cooperation and trust essential to an
    effective military force. When open conflict erupted in
    March 1971, the armed forces were forced to disarm and
    remove Bengali officers and men. These actions must have
    had a serious negative effect on the efficiency of the
    services' war fighting capability.

    In summary, the common religion of Islam could not
    overcome the deep divisions of geography, culture and
    political goals. Pakistan moved toward insurrection and
  8. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 4


    When Pakistan's army struck on the night of March 25,
    1971, all Awami League leaders were arrested, killed or fled
    into exile to India. Sheikh Mujib was arrested and flown to
    West Pakistan to await trial on unspecified charges.
    President Yahya stated in a radio broadcast the next day
    that the Sheikh's "action of starting his non-cooperation
    movement is an act of treason." 1/ Disorder and confusion
    reigned in Dacca and other parts of East Pakistan. Many
    civilians were killed as the army struck violently to clear
    barricades in the cities. The Dacca University was shelled
    and occupied; this resulted in many casualties. Police and
    Bengali soldiers in Dacca were disarmed and detained. 2/
    The army became an army of West Pakistanis and was viewed by
    Bengalis as an occupying force.

    Outside Dacca the army attacked Bengali officers and
    men of the armed forces. The army then moved against other
    paramilitary organizations such as the police, border
    security forces and the militia. In some cases, the attacks
    lasted several days but almost everywhere there were heavy
    Bengali casualties and destruction. The Bengali military
    and police units were scattered throughout the country and
    many members began to withdraw toward the borders sabotaging
    bridges and rail links where possible. The actions were
    brutal and had elements of a cultural war: the army
    attacked Bengalis, while Bengalis murdered members of the
    Urdu-speaking minorities. By the end of April 1971, the
    army had secured the major towns in East Pakistan and
    organized resistance ceased. However, the nucleus of an
    armed and trained guerrilla force had escaped into India and
    to remote areas on the border. At the border Indian units
    welcomed the fleeing Bengalis but India played no part in
    the resistance at that time. 4/ As April drew to a close,
    the attack by West Pakistan on the Eastern wing had
    successfully stopped the immediate possibility of armed
    revolt. However, the population was subdued but remained
    passively hostile. The army reacted to this hostility with
    increasing brutality and destruction of civilian property
    continued. Civilian refugees began to pour into India.

    As news of the uprising and repression in East Pakistan
    spread in India, there was considerable public pressure on
    the Indian Government to intervene. On March 29, 1971, the
    Indian parliament passed a resolution pledging sympathy and
    support for the people of East Bengal in their struggle for
    the transfer of power to their legally-elected
    representatives. The parliament expressed confidence that

    "... the historic upsurge of 75 million people of East
    Bengal will triumph." 5/ This resolution represented a
    change in Indian policy toward Pakistan. Previously, India
    had respected the unity of Pakistan in order to protect her
    own unity, which had been also threatened by regional
    factions and demands for autonomy.

    Indian support to the rebels in the following weeks
    consisted of assisting voluntary efforts to help the East
    Pakistan cause and of encouraging escaped Bengalis to form a
    provisional government. India, however, withheld formal
    recognition of this government-in-exile. These cautious
    actions were probably the result of military advice that
    India would not be prepared for military action till after
    the monsoon season ended in September. 6/

    In response to India's statement of support for the
    Bengalis, Pakistan protested that India was interfering in
    Pakistan's internal affairs. The apparent object of this
    diplomatic effort was to gain international support to
    oppose any Indian intervention. But on April 2, 1971,
    Russia publicly appealed to Yahya to quickly put an end to
    the repression in East Pakistan. Islamabad replied that the
    situation was under control and normal routine was being
    established. Also on that date, the United States expressed
    concern for the human suffering and the need for multi-
    national assistance. President Nixon was probably concerned
    that the balance of power in Asia would be upset and he was
    anxious not to jeopardize the effort to develop closer
    relations with China. 7/ The U.S. needed a stable Asia and
    support of China to implement the planned withdrawal from

    Although slow in coming, on April 13 China expressed
    support for President Yahya's efforts. Chou En-lai stated
    that should India attack Pakistan, China would fully support
    the Pakistani people and government to safeguard "State
    Sovereignty" and national independence. The phrasing was
    important as it did not state full support for the unity and
    integrity of the nation as Pakistan wanted. From April
    onwards, China provided economic and military assistance
    appropriate to their statement of support; that is,
    sufficient to guarantee only that in a war with India the
    Western wing would survive, but not necessarily the Eastern
    wing. Both India and the Soviet Union had long standing
    disputes with China. China's interests would be served by
    continuing to have Pakistan interposed between the U.S.S.R.
    and India. Should West Pakistan cease to exist, then China
    would be surrounded by unfriendly neighbors. On the other
    hand, continuing rivalry between Pakistan and India over
    East Pakistan would divert India's attention away from her
    border with China. Thus survival of West Pakistan was
    important to China, while the dispute in East Pakistan would
    add to the rivalry between India and West Pakistan to ensure
    that India's attention would be diverted from her Northern
    border with China.

    At the United Nations, Secretary General U. Thant asked
    Pakistan to allow United Nations relief agencies to act in
    East Pakistan while recognizing that the situation was an
    internal matter of Pakistan. President Yahya firmly refused
    any outside intervention. 9/ He probably believed that his
    policy of counter-insurgency was sufficient to reestablish

    By May 1971, organized resistance in East Pakistan had
    been crushed. Pakistan diplomacy appeared successful as
    most countries viewed the affair as an internal problem.
    However, the flow of refugees into India had turned to a
    flood. India claimed that the refugees (mostly Bengali
    Moslems) were arriving at a rate of 60,000 per day and
    now totaled 1.5 million. These people moved mostly into
    West Bengal and were costly to India in food and clothing;
    furthermore, they were causing a severe economic dislocation
    in a province already impoverished. In this situation,
    India could do little more than provide indirect support to
    the Bengali government-in-exile and provide sanctuary,
    training and arms for the guerrilla forces. Diplomatically,
    India stressed that whether or not the problem was an
    internal one for Pakistan, the refugees were becoming an
    internal problem for India: Pakistan must be responsible
    for developing conditions for the safe return of the
    refugees. 10/

    India's diplomatic efforts began to get results.
    Britain and the United States declared no new aid would be
    extended to Pakistan until the government in Islamabad
    cooperated with international relief agencies; however,
    United States aid already approved would continue.
    Pakistan's economy was weak. There was a shortage of
    foreign exchange and exports from East Pakistan had slowed
    significantly. 11/ Pakistan needed aid and needed the
    return of the economic base of East Pakistan.

    Thus in mid-May Pakistan informed the United Nations of
    its willingness to accept relief aid if the activity was
    coordinated by Pakistani officials. Within a week Yahya
    appealed to the refugees to return and announced he would
    soon reveal a plan for the orderly transfer of power to the
    representatives of the people. Refugee reception centres
    were set up and a general amnesty announced on June 10,
    1971. The shift in Pakistani policy eased tensions in East
    Pakistan. Many influential members of the Awami League
    signed a declaration accepting the concept of national unity
    and supporting the reintroduction of separate electorates
    for Hindus and Moslems. To gain support of the right-wing
    factions of the army, Yahya proposed that a new constitution
    be drafted by a committee of experts rather than the
    National Assembly. Although India now reported more than
    six million refugees, the flow slowed considerably and she
    was being pressured to accept international assistance for
    the repatriation of refugees. 12/

    By June, India had become distrustful of United
    Nations' actions to repatriate refugees. When Pakistan
    shifted ground to accommodate United Nations' actions, India
    rejected the proposal for posting United Nations observers
    on her border. 13/ India was probably concerned that East
    Pakistan would return to the pre-crisis situation with
    little or no gain toward self-determination of East Bengal.
    Public opinion in India's turbulent eastern provinces also
    favored severing Pakistan's link with East Bengal as an
    opportunity to weaken a dangerous enemy. India, therefore,
    insisted that Pakistan must come to a political solution of
    the crisis founded on self-determination for East Bengal
    before social and economic aid should be extended. On the
    other hand, the United Nations' approach was to put social
    and economic recovery in place before a political solution
    should be attempted. The United States clearly supported
    the U.N. approach which would return the South Asian balance
    of power to the pre-crisis condition.

    During May and June, leaders of the Awami League who
    had fled to India continued to develop the Bangla Desh
    movement (as they now called East Pakistan) politically and
    militarily. The government-in-exile was nominally headed by
    Sheikh Mujib, but because he was under arrest in West
    Pakistan, the real head was Tajuddin Ahmid, the prime
    minister. 14/

    The stated goal of the movement was the independence
    of East Pakistan; its unannounced objective was to gain
    political power for the Awami League. 15/ To this end, the
    government-in-exile tried to exclude Bengalis representing
    left-wing and communist movements. The government-in-exile
    remained composed principally of Awami League members but
    its military arm, the Mukti Fanj, eventually incorporated
    armed groups organized by other political factions. 16/

    The government-in-exile pursued three broad strategic
    programs to achieve its goal. These were:

    (a) organizing the support of the population of East
    (b) gaining favorable international support; and,
    (c) disrupting the economic strength of Pakistan
    through attacks on the lines of communication in East

    To translate the disaffection of the Bengalis into
    supportive action for the Bangla Desh movement, an
    underground was organized to publicize its goals. Insurgent
    propaganda emphasized the atrocities of the Pakistani army
    and described the army as an occupation force restoring the
    colonial rule of West Pakistan. This program succeeded to
    get support in the form of volunteers as well as
    information, supplies and concealment in the rural areas.
    In the urban areas, the Bengalis were encouraged to boycott
    schools, offices and factories to further disrupt the
    economy. The insurgents also used terror tactics to
    intimidate civil servants and factory managers to keep their
    facilities closed. Furthermore, Bengali leaders who openly
    supported Pakistan unity or collaborated with the army were
    assassinated selectively to discourage others. 17/

    To influence the international community, the main
    effort emphasized recognition for the Bangla Desh government-
    in-exile. Many Bengalis who were with Pakistani foreign
    missions defected and set about publicizing the legitimacy
    of the Bangla Desh movement. Although not initially
    successful in obtaining formal recognition, these diplomats
    developed popular sympathy for the Bangla Desh movement.

    The Mukti Fanj was used primarily in an offensive role
    to attack the lines of communication and to disrupt the
    military and economic strength of East Pakistan. The
    monsoon season of June to September favored guerrilla
    tactics. Two-thirds of the country was water soaked
    limiting mobility to roads, railways and river craft. The
    roads and railways ran close to the border, crossing many
    bridges vulnerable to attack. The India-East Pakistan
    border itself was 1,400 miles long with no natural
    obstacles. The interior of East Pakistan could be reached
    easily by guerrillas from the border area by river and delta
    channels. 18/

    The Mukti Fanj mounted small, deep raids from their
    sanctuaries in India and remote border enclaves.
    Detachments of the Pakistani army were attacked causing
    casualties which were duly reported by the foreign press.
    These reports conflicted with Pakistani claims that the area
    was under control and thus tended to undermine international
    support for Pakistan. However, the attack on communications
    was much more successful and had immediate effects.
    Railways were largely inoperable beyond 30 to 50 miles from
    Dacca. Roads were cut isolating the principal towns and
    ports. The Pakistani army was left isolated in the urban
    areas while the major export crops of jute and tea could not
    be moved from the rural areas to markets. 19/

    As July closed, the military situation in East
    Pakistan was worsening. The monsoon was restricting army
    mobility while the Mukti Fanj (renamed the Mukti Bahini)
    mounted an increasing number of small raids aimed at
    sabotage and terror. The army was forced to conduct
    viscious counter-insurgent tactics which increased the
    hostility of the disaffected population.

    After a lull in June, refugees in large numbers again
    poured into India. President Yahya continued to press for
    the United Nations to force India to withdraw her support to
    the Bangla Desh rebels and to decrease border tension to
    induce more refugees to return home. He also stated that if
    India tried to seize a base in East Pakistan for rebel
    operations there would be general war. This was followed by
    reports of Pakistani military build-up along the West
    Pakistan border with India. 20/

    Pakistani diplomacy at the United Nations, supported by
    the U.S. was having an effect. U Thant recommended raising
    substantial relief aid for East Pakistan. The resources
    would be allocated for the refurbishment of transportation
    systems as well as food and clothing. India remained
    opposed to this plan as well as the U.N. proposal for
    representatives on the border to facilitate passage of
    refugees back to East Pakistan. It is now clear that India
    was determined to see East Pakistan independence and would
    not agree to any measures which increased West Pakistan's
    strength there. By continuing to support the Bangla Desh
    movement, India was becoming increasingly isolated at the
    U.N. Her policy also implied eventual direct military
    intervention since she could not support the enormous number
    of refugees and ignore public support for intervention
    indefinitely. 21/

    Up to the end of July, the Soviet Union had tried to
    maintain a balanced approach to India and Pakistan in an
    effort to increase her influence on the sub-continent.
    However, when the United States and China moved toward
    closer mutual relations and both supported the Pakistani
    position, Moscow concluded Treaty of Peace, Friendship and
    Cooperation with New Delhi on August 9. The Treaty had
    little effect on India militarily, but it gave support for
    her position at the United Nations Security Council. The
    Soviet Union opposed every proposal for any kind of
    intervention which might allow Pakistan to get a political
    settlement unacceptable to India, i.e., denial self-
    determination for the people of East Pakistan. 22/

    During August, President Yahya continued to try to win
    some support within the population of East Pakistan as well
    as satisfy the "hard-liners" in West Pakistan. On August 9,
    Yahya announced that Awami League members who would support
    Pakistani unity would be allowed to take their seats in the
    National Assembly, while the remainder of the unfilled seats
    would be filled by by-elections to be held at end-November.
    About half the Awami League delegates elected in December
    1970 signed a document agreeing to this move. Yahya also
    announced that Sheikh Mujib would be tried by military court
    on charges of "waging war against Pakistan." These two
    proposals were a key compromise of the political factions of
    Pakistan. 23/
  9. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 5

    In September more positive aspects of Yahya's plan
    emerged. General Tikka Khan, who was the prime proponent
    for military repression, was replaced as Governor of East
    Pakistan by a civilian, and press censorship was officially
    lifted. On September 5, a general amnesty was granted to
    all civilians and members of the armed forces alleged to
    have committed crimes since March 1. A number of detainees,
    mostly politicians aligned with the Awami League were
    released. 24/ These moves were countered by the government-
    in-exile which remained committed to complete independence.
    the Mukti Bahini intensified its propaganda aimed at the
    Bengali population. As well, assassinations of candidates
    standing for election were increased. For her part, India
    would not provide assistance for refugees wanting to return
    to East Pakistan. These actions were largely successful in
    discouraging any popular Bengali support for the authorities
    in Dacca and Islamabad. Candidates failed to stand for 18
    out of 78 seats of the Assembly available and no significant
    number of refugees returned from India. 25/

    India also increased its support to the Mukti Bahini
    military operations by providing artillery fire across the
    border for the guerrillas and stopping the Pakistani army
    from pursuing them into Indian territory. With their lines
    of withdrawal more secure the guerrillas undertook deeper
    raids into East Pakistan to destroy bridges, roads and army
    posts. The increased military activity put further pressure
    on the army to repress the actions and divereted effort from
    rebuilding the economy and reestablishing civil order.

    On October 12, Pakistan proposed to India mutual troop
    withdrawals and posting of United Nations observers in the
    border areas. Although India refused, Pakistan went ahead
    and withdrew its army to stronger positions 10-12 miles
    behind the border. 26/ This action was indicative of the
    success of the guerrillas in their attacks against the
    isolated Pakistani outposts.

    At the same time Pakistani diplomacy emphasized the
    requirement for United Nations action to restrain India from
    supporting the rebels of East Pakistan. Pakistan continued
    to argue that India was interfering in her internal affairs.
    New Delhi's position was that the problem was not an "India-
    Pakistan" problem, but strictly a Pakistani one for
    Islamabad to correct. Therefore, United Nations' action was
    inappropriate Pakistan had only to create conditions in
    East Pakistan of peace and security for the refugees to
    return home. 27/ While New Dehli's argument had a
    legalistic logic, it must have been clear that Pakistan
    could not create conditions of peace while fighting
    guerrillas armed and trained in India. India obviously had
    little desire to see East Pakistan survive as a province of
    her rival in Islamabad.

    While the Soviet Union consistently supported Indian
    positions at the United Nations, in October Moscow pressured
    New Delhi to soften her policy on Bangla Desh independence.
    As a result, the Indian Foreign Minister announced that
    India was committed only to a political solution acceptable
    to the already elected representative of East Pakistan.
    With many of these representatives in exile, their leader,
    Sheikh Mujib, under arrest in West Pakistan it would have
    been unreasonable that these representatives would demand
    anything less than political automony for East Pakistan. In
    any case, President Yahya refused to negotiate with them.
    India returned to her previous position of demanding self-
    determination for Bangla Desh. New Delhi had won a
    propaganda victory and persuaded the Soviet Union to
    continue to support her, all without any material or
    political cost.

    While Pakistan probably could have restored order
    eventually in East Pakistan, President Yahya realized he had
    little hope of prevailing without outside help if India
    invaded there. He, therefore, tried to persuade China to
    increase her commitment to the security of all Pakistan:
    this the Chinese refused to do. Peking remained committed
    to support Pakistan only to the extent required to ensure
    the survival of West Pakistan as a nation. Despite public
    pronouncements from Islamabad that China would supply all
    the weapons Pakistan would need in a future conflict with
    India, the Indians never appeared to be in any doubt as to
    the true nature of China's commitment. When war came in
    December, several Indian divisions were withdrawn from the
    Sino-Indian border and moved into East Pakistan. 28/

    As November drew to a close, Pakistan could no longer
    tolerate Indian military actions in the border area.
    Shelling and tank fire from the Indian army continued to
    inflict casualties on Pakistani posts and provide support
    guerrilla operations. Islamabad viewed the conflict as
    India's responsibility and this was endorsed by the United
    States who, on November 30, suspended licenses for arms
    exports to India. 29/ On December 3, 1971, Pakistan struck
    India with air and ground attacks across the border from
    West Pakistan.

    The period from March to September was marked by the
    rapid deterioration of the political situation in East
    Pakistan. When confronted by demands of the elected
    representatives of the Awani League for economic and
    political automony, the central military government in
    Islamabad reacted with a ruthless and brutal repression
    which ultimately failed. Islamabad appears to have
    seriously underestimated the strength and the organization
    of the Bengali nationalist movement embodied in the Awami
    League. Faced with the arrest of over half its leadership,
    the remaining Awami League leaders went into exile in India
    with even firmer resolve to win independence. From there
    they were able to quickly transform the party organization
    into a credible government-in-exile with a military arm to
    prosecute guerrilla warfare. The actions of the Islamabad
    government worked to the advantage of the Bengali resistance
    by providing the elements of a successful revolution.

    By arresting and detaining Bengali leaders Islamabad
    indicated to the world at large and the Bengalis, in
    particular, that no political compromise was possible. The
    ruthless and brutal purge of Bengalis from the armed forces
    succeeded in sending a trained and dedicated cadre of
    soldiers into exile in India where they were available to
    the Bangla Desh government-in-exile as a cadre for the
    guerrilla force. At the same time, Pakistani military
    operations caused such destruction and intimidation of
    civilians that millions also fled to India where they were
    available and willing to support the Bangla Desh movement.
    Little attempt was made by the Pakistan government to
    encourage these refugees to return home. It is possible
    that the Islamabad government consciously followed a policy
    of forcing large numbers of civilians out of East Pakistan
    in order to reduce the population to below that of West
    Pakistan. This would ensure that in future governments West
    Pakistan would hold a majority of seats in the National
    Assembly and could protect its privileged position in the
    nation. In any case, these destitute refugees provided a
    large pool of manpower opposing the West Pakistani

    India saw the conflict as an opportunity to weaken her
    major rival in South Asia. Pakistan had humiliated India in
    the war over Kashmir in 1965. India at that time had had to
    divide her forces between East and West while maintaining
    considerable forces on her northern border with China. New
    Delhi was determined to not be defeated again by Pakistan.
    Breaking East Pakistan from the remainder of the nation
    would greatly simplify her defense problem. India,
    therefore, adopted the policy of supporting the Bangla Desh
    movement while preparing her own armed forces for war with
    Pakistan should intervention be necessary. The independence
    of East Pakistan was pursued consistently and with skill
    throughout the period.

    Indian public opinion largely supported New Delhi's
    policy. The burden of millions of refugees in India's most
    populous and impoverished region was costly and caused
    social unrest. Furthermore, most Indians saw Pakistan as a
    threat which would lead to war eventually in any case.
    When India's goal appeared in danger of being thwarted
    by United Nations' intervention, New Delhi quickly found the
    necessary Security Council veto by concluding a treaty with
    the Soviet Union. This treaty did not place any military
    obligation on either party, but only pledged cooperation.
    For the Soviet Union the treaty demonstrated to the world
    its increasing influence in South Asia while for India the
    treaty gave her what she needed most -- an ally with veto
    power in the Security Council.

    The Awami League which formed the leadership of the
    Bangla Desh movement was thus provided all the essential
    elements to prosecute its guerrilla war for the independence
    of East Pakistan. The league had safe havens in India from
    which to organize politically and militarily. The arrest
    and detention of the popular leader, Sheikh Mujib, provided
    tangible and symbolic evidence of the persecution of the
    Bengalis by the West Pakistani. The widespread destruction
    of personal property and the economic deterioration in East
    Pakistan gave the Bangla Desh movement an enormous pool of
    manpower willing to resist the Pakistani authorities. The
    Bengali soldiers who had escaped formed a trained and
    dedicated nucleus for a guerrilla force. Finally, the
    support of India in form of arms and training allowed the
    guerrillas to move to the offensive quickly and effectively.

    By December, it became apparent to Islamabad that it
    was not regaining control of East Pakistan. The guerrillas
    were striking deeply into East Pakistan in greater strength.
    India was deploying raids across her border with East
    Pakistan to support the guerrillas. Pakistan, therefore,
    mounted an attack on December 3 aimed at destroying as much
    Indian combat power as possible before she herself was
    attacked by India.
  10. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 6

    THE 14-DAY WAR: 3-16 DECEMBER 1971
    When general war opened on December 3, India and
    Pakistan had unequal military capacities. India had
    developed an arms industry with aid from the Soviet Union
    and the West which was capable of producing major weapons
    such as tanks and aircraft. India also had received and
    continued to have access to military equipment from Moscow.
    On the other hand, Pakistan's industry was much less
    developed. She had been unable to get arms when cut-off by
    the West and Russia in the summer of 1971. China had
    provided military supplies, but these could not redress the
    imbalance. 1/

    The relative strengths of the armed forces of the two
    countries are shown in Table 1. It must be noted that India
    maintained considerable army forces guarding the Himalayan
    border with China which reduced the forces available for
    combat with Pakistan. 2/

    Early in the counter-insurgency phase of the conflict,
    Pakistan had purged Bangali units from the armed forces.
    Many Bengalis who belonged to predominantly West Pakistan
    units had defected: those who remained were not trusted and
    the combat effectiveness of Pakistani units suffered as a
    result. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was particularly
    affected because many of the ground crew had been Bengali.
    Click here to view image

    The officer corps of all three Pakistani services had
    been politicized, especially at the general officer level,
    by years of military government. The need for political
    balance in the government often overrode the requirements
    for ability in many senior military appointments. This
    resulted in poor leadership and incompetence as well as lack
    of cohesion and trust. By 1971, the chiefs-of-staff system
    had been modified so as to be almost unrecognizable. Yahya
    Khan retained control of army operations in addition to his
    duties as President and supreme Commander of all the
    services. The structure was overly centralized and
    dominated by the army. Not surprisingly, communications and
    cooperation were poor between General Headquarters co-
    located with the army at Rawalpindi, and the PAF and navy
    located at Peshawar and Karachi respectively. 3/

    The Indian system emphasized the distinction between
    government and the armed services. Each service had equal
    status and was controlled by a civilian minister of the
    cabinet responsible to parliament. The service chiefs were
    members of a chief-of-staff committee. A joint planning
    staff provided coordination. This system was well-suited to
    respond to civilian management. 4/

    Pakistan's strategy tried to involve the United
    Nations to prevent India from intervening militarily. But
    when it became apparent that this strategy could not prevent
    war, Pakistan attacked from the West. Yahya probably
    considered East Pakistan indefensible in the long run, but
    he hoped to gain sufficient Indian territory in the West
    which could be traded for East Pakistan territory in the
    negotiations following the cease-fire. The land battle in
    the West was thus crucial for Pakistan.

    Indian strategy was to act quickly in the East to
    decisively defeat Pakistani forces there while defending
    Indian territory in the West. This strategy reduced the
    danger of China intervening as it clearly did not threaten
    the existence of West Pakistan. 5/ A quick decision in the
    East would ensure an independent nation in East Bengal
    before international action could be mobilized to separate
    the Indian and Pakistani armies there and preclude the
    decision India sought.

    When the PAF struck at 1747 on December 3, Pakistan
    attempted to disable the superior Indian Air Force (IAF) by
    a preemptive strike. Airfields at Amritsar, Srinagar,
    Avantipur, Pathankot and Faridkot were attacked; however,
    the strike failed to achieve any significant success. The
    IAF had dispersed their aircraft to hardened shelters on a
    large number of airfields where only a direct hit could
    damage them. The late afternoon forced the attack to be
    brief as it could not be sustained in darkness. Not only
    were too few airfields struck for too short a time, but only
    30 percent of the available aircraft were used. The
    aircraft may have had a low serviceability or the PAF may
    have attempted to save aircraft since they could not be
    easily replaced. In any case, from this raid onwards, the
    IAF dominated the air-war. 6/ On December 4, the IAF flew
    over 500 sorties on tactical and strategic targets in
    Pakistan. In 14 days of war, the Western Air Command of IAF
    alone flew over 4,000 sorties. 7/ The IAF claimed 94
    aircraft, while the PAF claimed 81. This air campaign
    demonstrated again the value of mass and boldness: the IAF
    influenced the war significantly with relatively small
    losses while the PAF flew far fewer sorties with greater
    losses and less effect. 8/

    The border between West Pakistan and India followed no
    natural topographical feature, but it had been inherited on
    the basis of the old pre-1947 borders. There Pakistan
    deployed ten infantry divisions, two armoured divisions,
    various brigades and almost all its combat aircraft. The
    general deployments are shown in Appendix I. The order of
    battle of the Indians has not been disclosed, but it was
    probably comparable. 9/

    On December 3, the Pakistani 26 Infantry Brigade
    attacked east from Kahuta toward Punch in northern Kashmir.
    They had made virtually no progress against Indian ground
    defenses and heavy air attacks when the offensive was
    terminated two days later. On December 9, a second attack
    toward Punch was again thwarted by IAF bombing. The Indians
    then made a series of small attacks which secured several
    Pakistani posts north and west of Punch. Further north in
    the area of Kargil, the Indians secured all the Pakistani
    outposts which overlooked the Zoji La Pass. These actions
    were conducted at night at elevations above 16,000 feet at
    sub-zero temperatures. 10/

    To the south, the area of Chhamb was an important
    communication link to all parts of Kashmir. The II (Pak)
    corps attacked on December 3 with four infantry and one
    armored brigade with eight artillery regiments in support.
    After four days, they had succeeded in driving two Indian
    infantry battalions out of their prepared defense to
    positions across on the east bank of the Munnawar Tawi
    River. Two days later the Pakistanis took the town of
    Chhamb and established a bridgehead on the east side of the
    river. On December 10 the Indians counter-attacked, sending
    the Pakistanis back across the river. In the next two days,
    units of II (Pak) Corps recrossed the river two more times
    only to be forced to withdraw. By December 12, when the
    sector stabilized, the Indians estimated they had lost 17
    tanks and 440 men killed while the Pakistanis had lost 36
    tanks and 1350 men killed. 11/

    In the Punjab, the Sialkot-Shakargarh salient juts into
    India. The Indians launched an attack there to relieve
    pressure on the Chhamb area. They attacked the salient on
    two axes: one from the north to cut the road between
    Shakargarh and Zafarwal, the other from the east with
    Shakargarh as the objective. Good Pakistani defensive
    positions and extensive mining made progress slow, but by
    the time of the cease-fire on December 16, the Indians had
    secured about 1000 square kilometers of the salient. 12/

    South of the Shakargarh salient in the area of Dera
    Baba Nanak and Fazilka, the Indians expected a major
    Pakistani offensive. Both sides fought local engagements in
    effort to gain favorable position. However, no major
    offensive was attempted. Although the 1 (Pak) Armoured
    Division was available to strike, lack of air cover probably
    kept it from entering the battle. 13/

    Actions in the Sind-Rajasthan sector were aimed a
    drawing strategic reserves of both sides down from the other
    northern sectors. A Pakistani force of one infantry
    brigade, supported by a reinforced armoured regiment,
    crossed the border near Ramgarh on December 4. Without air
    cover, the Pakistanis were caught in the open and lost an
    estimated 34 tanks and 100 other vehicles in one day before
    withdrawing. 14/ On December 5, while Pakistani armour was
    being destroyed north in the desert, the Indians captured
    Gadra and moved southwest on to Nagar Parkar and the Rann of
    Kutch. This advance had possibilities of cutting the main
    north-south lines of communication through Hyderabad to
    Karachi. Indian progress was slow, but by the time of the
    cease-fire 11 days later they had advanced to Naya Chor
    and had captured 4,700 square kilometers of Pakistani
    land. 15/ Its quite probable that the Indian advance in the
    Rann of Kutch was deliberately slow in order not to
    threaten seriously West Pakistan and thus arouse Chinese
    military intervention.

    At the time of cease-fire the Pakistanis had not
    achieved any of their objectives. They had no large tracts
    of Indian territory to use as bargaining chips for East
    Pakistan. India had been able to deploy similar military
    strength to a battle which, for them, was defensive. Indian
    air superiority allowed them flexibility while negating any
    Pakistani local ground concentration.

    The 14-day war was the first full-scale Indian naval
    war. India's fleet was much superior to that of Pakistan
    and was well prepared when war came on December 3. The
    Indian navy was able to defend the coast while blockading
    East Pakistan and attacking shore targets in support of
    ground operations. 16/

    Pakistan's surface fleet had neither air cover nor
    weapons to defend against India's missile boats. Therefore,
    it stayed in Karachi harbour while submarines were given the
    task of destroying India's aircraft carrier and cruiser.
    They were unsuccessful: on December 4, Dafne-class
    Pakistani submarine was sunk by a carrier escort in the Bay
    of Bengal while a second submarine was sunk off Visakhapatna
    harbour. The only Indian loss was the frigate Kukri sunk by
    a sumbarine in the Arabian Sea on December 9. 17/

    India's main naval support effort was in the Bay of
    Bengal where a carrier task force blockaded the sea
    approaches to East Pakistan. Six merchant ships and
    "numerous" small craft were captured. Carrier based
    aircraft struck assembly points of small boats in the Ganges
    delta area, preventing the escape or reinforcement of
    Pakistani army elements. The establishment of air
    superiority early in the war allowed the ships freedom to
    maneuver to attack shore targets at Chittagong, Cox's Bazar,
    Chalna, Kulna and other economic and military targets. 18/
    These actions had a significant effect on the collapse of
    East Pakistan.

    But the decisive theater of the war was East Pakistan
    shown on the map at Appendix 2. The area is divided by
    three major river systems into four parts with Dacca, the
    capital, at the center. The Jamuna River runs north to
    south cutting the country in half. West of the Jamuna the
    Padma (Ganges) River flows west to east to join the Jamuna
    west of Dacca. South of the Padma lies the South-Western
    Sector with the major towns of Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna and
    Chalna. To the north of the Padma the North-Western Sector
    contains the towns of Rangpur, Dinajpur, Bogra and Rajshahi.
    The Surma-Meghna River flows southwest from Sylhet joining
    the Jamuna south east of Dacca and dividing the remainder of
    the country into the Northern Sector and Eastern Sector.

    India deployed six infantry divisions and various
    supporting troops on all sides of East Pakistan. Supporting
    the Indian force were eight battalions of Mukti-Bahini and
    many irregular Bengali soldiers. 19/ To force a quick
    decision, India had to strike deep toward Dacca. Since the
    trafficability of most of the region is poor, the combat
    forces were lightly equipped but they were well trained and
    were reinforced with engineers to assist in river crossings.
    The Indian forces were deployed as follows: II Corps
    comprising of two infantry divisions was tasked to advance
    eastward through the South-Western Sector in the general
    direction of Dacca; XXXIII Corps with one infantry division
    and two brigades was tasked to attack to the Bogra area in
    the Northwestern Sector and then on to Dacca; 101
    Communications Zone with one brigade was to strike south
    through the Northern Sector toward Dacca; and, IV Corps in
    the Eastern Sector had three divisions with missions to
    advance westward to Dacca. 20/

    Opposing the Indians, Pakistan deployed five divisions
    with two armoured regiments and supporting artillery. The
    forces were deployed forward in strong points based on towns
    near the border with light forces screening to the border.
  11. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 7

    In the Southwestern Sector the Indian II Corps advanced
    on three axes. Nine (I) Division struck southeast bypassing
    Jessore to the south then moved on the Kulna, Chalna and
    Barisal. A second element of 9 (I) Division passed north of
    Jessore on December 5 and, moving cross-country, took
    Jheneida two days later. A third column composed of 4 (I)
    Division moved eastward on the right bank of the Padma and
    took Kushtia with its important railway bridge after heavy
    fighting on December 11. The Pakistani forces based in
    Jessore withdrew piecemeal without a fight when they found
    themselves cut-off by the advancing Indian columns. By
    December 15, the resistance in this sector had
    collapsed. 21/ The Indians had demonstrated that they could
    move rapidly across the marshy ground and numerous streams.
    Good training and assistance of Mukti-Bahini guides allowed
    them to outflank the major strong points which then

    In the Northwestern Sector, XXXIII (I) Corps advanced
    southeast on three axes, bypassing strongly defended areas
    at Hilli, Dinajpur and Rangpur. Bogra was capatured on
    December 13, cutting-off the defenders further to the north.
    In this sector the Indians again proved they could move
    quickly around static defenses to cut the routes of
    withdrawal and reinforcement. Even though the Pakistani
    army continued to fight from their strong points they could
    not stop or eject the Indians. 22/

    The Northern Sector provided the best approach to
    Dacca for there are no major river obstacles. However, the
    Indians used only two brigades in this sector. This force
    took Jamalpur early, but was held up at Mymensingh until
    December 11 before moving south to Tangail, 46 miles from
    Dacca. The Indians dropped a parachute battalion into
    Tangail on December 11 to cut the withdrawal route of
    Pakistani forces to the north. On December 12, resistance
    at Tangail crumbled and by December 16 Indian units were in
    the outskirts of Dacca. 23/

    In the Eastern Sector three Indian divisions faced two
    Pakistani divisions. The 8 (I) Division advanced southwest
    from Karimgan, reaching Maulvi Bazar on December 6. The
    Pakisani garrison at Mualvi Bazar withdrew to Sylhet where
    the elements continued to fight for some days. Meanwhile,
    the main force of 8 (I) Division continued to Ashuganj on
    the Megna River. The 57 (I) Division struck west from
    Akhaura reaching Ashuganj on December 9. The 23 (I)
    Division bypassed Comilla with one column moving south
    toward Chittagong while the main body proceeded west to
    reach the Megna River. Four days later the Indians were
    within 12 kilometers of Dacca. 24/ After artillery had
    fired on Dacca on December 15, the Pakistanis requested a
    cease-fire and, on December 16, General Niazi, commander of
    Pakistan's forces in Dacca, signed an unconditional
    surrender. The war ended and Bangla Desh was a reality.

    At the beginning of December, Islamabad had realized
    that the Indians were massing to attack into East Pakistan.
    Although Pakistan had approximately 40,000 troops deployed
    there, the preceeding months of guerrilla war had taken its
    toll. The Pakistani army's morale there had been weakened
    by terrorist activity and the consistent hostility of the
    civilian population. The terrain itself reduced mobility
    and forced the army to deploy in strong points near the
    larger towns where they would control the major road and
    railway networks. These strong points were not mutually
    supporting and there were insufficient forces to fill the
    gaps between them. At best the Pakistani forces could delay
    the likely Indian attack to gain sufficient time for an
    international intervention to pressure India to stop. If,
    as was entirely possible, no international intervention
    materialized, then Pakistan would need to take Indian
    territory elsewhere which could then be traded for the
    return of East Pakistan during cease-fire negotiations. To
    do this Yahya had to mount a swift, violent offensive into
    India from West Pakistan. In the 14-day conventional war
    Pakistan's strategy completely failed for a number of

    Firstly, the Pakistani forces needed air superiority
    and they failed to achieve it. The PAF tried a surprise pre-
    emptive attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF), but through
    poor intelligence and planning failed to strike Indian
    airfields in sufficient numbers or depth. IAF operations
    were never seriously challenged. In the following days of
    the war, the PAF could not or would not provide sufficient
    sorties to gain even local air superiority to support the
    ground forces even though aircraft were available. It is
    probable that the PAF command thought it necessary to avoid
    loss of aircraft so they would be available to counter an
    Indian offensive into West Pakistan should it arise. It
    appears that the Pakistani high command were not aware of
    Yahya's objectives of gaining Indian territory as a defense
    for the integrity of Pakistan as a whole.

    Secondly, the Pakistani army attacked along a very
    broad front of the western Indian border. But nowhere did
    they mass sufficient forces to ensure a rapid breakthrough.
    Generally, the points of attack were in terrain unsuited for
    wide maneuver and hence mobility and speed could not be
    developed to gain significant amount of Indian land.
    Although battles were fiercely contested at battalion and
    brigade level, the attacks were only loosely coordinated at
    the corps and army level, and hence, lacked unity.

    Thirdly, the effect of the Indian naval blockage was to
    completely isolate West from East Pakistan. Combined with
    Indian domination of the air, there was no possibility of
    reinforcing or withdrawing army forces in East Pakistan.
    This could only have further reduced morale and the will of
    the soldiers there to resist. As well the Indian navy was
    able to carry the war directly to Karachi while the
    Pakistani navy could not venture out without risking
    irreplaceable losses.

    The Pakistani navy was simply not equipped to take on
    the missiles and aircraft of the Indian fleet in order to
    protect its own or commercial ships. Thus, West as well as
    East Pakistan was isolated from its major sea supply routes.
    The state of the navy was indicative of the neglect for
    reality of the military government in Islamabad.

    Lastly, the Army in East Pakistan underestimated the
    ability of the Indians to move forces through the sodden
    terrain of Bengal. The Pakistanis had deployed in strength
    in the towns while leaving the rural areas relatively
    unprotected. The Indian army, supported by Bengalis with
    local knowledge, quickly outflanked these strong points.
    With no strategic reserve available, the Pakistanis could
    not block the Indian's advance. When the strong points were
    surrounded, there was simply no place for the defenders to
    go and they surrendered in thousands. 25/ The speed of the
    Indian advance helped relieve Indian's logistic effort of
    improving roads, bridges and railways necessary to move
    large quantities of supplies for slower, more deliberate
    operations. Their forces were lightly equipped to move
    quickly through to Dacca.

    In summary, the conventional phase of the war was one
    of limited objectives by both sides. However, the
    Pakistanis could not properly coordinate their strategy or
    their forces to realize success. On the other hand, the
    Indians produced a simple but flexible plan which they
    executed with determination and skill. East Pakistan fell
    much more quickly than Islamabad had anticipated and there
    was no time for international intervention. In the West the
    Indians defended successfully while making minor gains in
    the South. Their actions were entirely consistant with
    their objective of ejecting Pakistan from Bengal without
    inviting intervention from other nations, particularly
  12. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Marine Corps Report - Part 8

    The course of events which shaped the conflict between
    India and Pakistan in 1971 had their origins in history made
    many years before. The concept of a single Islamic nation
    on the Indian sub-continent had brought the peoples of East
    and West Pakistan together in the aftermath of British
    colonial rule. But the concept was not powerful enough to
    hold the nation in the face of differing race, language,
    culture and geography.

    When the autocratic rulers in the western wing denied
    the democratic aspirations of the Bengalis while continuing
    a policy of apparent economic domination, resentment was
    inevitable. The established rulers had fashioned a severely
    centralized government which was incapable of harmonizing
    the political and social forces emerging in the western as
    well as the eastern wing of the nation. Consequently
    military repression of the Bengalis was implemented without
    a serious attempt to rectify the causes of the grievances.

    The millions of refugees who poured into India caused
    serious economic and social problems in one of her most
    unstable slates, West Bengal. The Indian government, with
    considerable support from the public, seized this
    opportunity to decisively weaken her most dangerous rival.
    By skillfully managing her diplomatic affairs, while
    encouraging the Bangla Desh movement, India won time to
    prepare for military intervention while preventing wider
    international intervention damaging to her aim. And clearly
    her aim was to reduce the power of Pakistan by promoting the
    autonomy of East Bengal.

    China considered Pakistan, in particular West Pakistan,
    vital to restricting Soviet influence on the sub-continent.
    Should both India and Pakistan be drawn into the Soviet
    sphere, China's borders would be threatened on all sides.
    With India and Pakistan rivals, the threat to China from
    India would be much reduced. For similar reasons, the
    Soviet Union was initially trying to steer an even course in
    the India-Pakistan dispute. However, when rebuffed by Yahya
    in July 1971, Moscow quickly saw the chance to increase her
    influence with India.

    When conventional war finally came in December,
    Pakistan found herself unable to defend the east or
    successfully gain in the west. Pakistan's complete failure
    in the air was most damaging. Her armies and navy lacked
    information available from reconnaissance. Both the army
    and navy could not maneuver without incurring damaging
    losses from the Indian Air Force.

    In the end, India prevailed because she was able to
    maintain the initiative both politically and militarily,
    guided by a simple but realistic and flexible strategy.
    Click here to view image
  13. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

    Feb 23, 2009
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    The following are excerpts from the book ‘Crisis of Leadership’ by Maj. General M. Khan of Pakistan about the bravery of the Sikh soldiers during the Indo-Pak war.

    “…the main reason of our defeat was Sikhs fighting facing us. We were helpless to do anything in front of them. Sikhs are very brave and they have a great craving for martyrdom. They fight so fiercely that they are capable of defeating an army many times bigger than theirs.

    ….On 3rd December 1971, we fiercely and vigorously attacked the Indian army with our infantry brigade near Hussainiwala border. This brigade included Pakistan army’s fighter Punjabi regiment together with the Baloch regiment. Within minutes we pushed the Indian army quite far back. Their defence posts fell under our control. The Indian army was retreating back very fast and the Pakistani army was going forward with a great speed. Our army reached near the Kausre-Hind post. There was a small segment of the Indian army appointed to defend that post and their soldiers belonged to the Sikh Regiment. A few number of the Sikh Regiment stopped our way forward like an iron wall. They loudly greeted us with the ovation of ‘Bole-so-Nihal’ and attacked us like blood thirsty hungry lions and hawks. All these soldiers were Sikhs. There was even a dreadful hand-to-hand battle. The sky filled with roars of ‘Yaa Ali’ and ‘Sat-Siri-Akal’. Even in this hand-to-hand fighting the Sikhs fought so bravely that all our desires, aspirations and dreams were shattered.

    …..In this war Lt. Col Gulab Hussain of Baloch Regiment got killed. With him Major Mohammed Zaeef and Captain Arif Alim also died. It was difficult to count the number of soldiers who got killed. We were astonished to see the courage of those handful of Sikh soldiers. When we seized the possession of the three-storey defence post of concrete, the Sikh soldiers went onto the roof and kept on persistently opposing us. The whole night they kept on showering fires on us and continued shouting the loud ovation of ‘Sat-Siri-Akal’. These Sikh soldiers kept on the encounter till the next day. Next d ay the Pakistani tanks surrounded this post and bombed it with guns. Those handful of Sikhs got martyred in this encounter while resisting us, but other Sikh soldiers then destroyed our tanks with the help of their artillery. Fighting with great bravery they kept on marching forward and thus our army lost its foothold.

    ….Alas, a handful of Sikhs converted our great victory into a big defeat and shattered our confidence and courage. ….The same thing happened with us in Dhaka (Bangladesh). In the battle of Jaissur, the Singhs opposed the Pakistani army so fiercely that our backbone and our foothold was lost. This became the main and important reason of our defeat and the Sikhs’ fancy for martyrdom and mockery with death for the sake of safety and honour of the country, became the sole cause of their victory.

    “The bravery and spirit of sacrifice of Sikhs were respected and honoured by one and all.”
  14. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    1971 War: How the US tried to corner India
  15. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Indo-Pak 1971 war : Secret British report on US belief
  16. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Feb 16, 2009
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    Moscow, russia
    all news and discussions on the 1971 INDO-PAK WAR HERE PLEASE

  17. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

    Mar 7, 2009
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    1971 South-Asia Crisis.


    I would like to thank Deltacamelately sir for this valuable information. This is the original CIA declassified document. This was originally posted by him in WAB
  18. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 22, 2009
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    The Sunday Times of London had reported, “It took only 12 days for the Indian Army to smash its way to Dacca, an achievement reminiscent of the German Blitzkrieg across France in 1940. The strategy was the same: speed, ferocity and flexibility”. The Army, of course, was not alone. The Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the Mukti Bahini helped to shape the victory.
  19. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

    Mar 7, 2009
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    That is how wars are supposed to be fought...not dragging your feet like Operation Parakram. It was good when it was planned but we didnt have the Mobility...
  20. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

    Apr 5, 2009
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    There was lot of preparation gone into 1971 BD liberation war and I think that has helped in achieving the results in such a short time. Moreover attacking East Pakistan during the winter was one of the key decisions made, as that would keep away the chinese during the war.
  21. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

    Mar 7, 2009
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    It was actually the floods that bothered us. Not the Chinese.

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