'Breaking up Pak hasn't helped us militarily' - The Times of India While Pakistani General AAK Niazi surrendered to Gen JS Aurora in 1971, it was Lt Gen JFR Jacob who negotiated terms of the surrender. The veteran speaks to Parakram Rautela about the 14-day war for the liberation of Bangladesh, his starkest memories from that time, and why he thinks India did not use the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers to its advantage. Excerpts: You have said you disobeyed orders when it came to the 1971 war in Bangladesh. That Sam Maneckshaw, the Army chief, believed it would be enough to capture the port towns of Khulna and Chittagong, for, if that happened, Dhaka would fall on its own. But you refused and carried on to Dhaka. Was there no price to pay for that? No, there wasn't any price to pay. We won Bangladesh. You win a war, how can there be a price to pay? As a team, how well did Sam Maneckshaw, Gen Aurora and you work? I was fond of Sam. He gave me a dog, a dachshund. I got along with Aurora, too. But professionally you didn't see eye to eye? Yes, we had our professional disagreements. If the three of you were not agreeing on what to do, then what happened in 1971? Did we get lucky? I can tell you what happened. On December 3, we joined the war. On December 13, we were on the outskirts of Bangladesh. On the 14th, we were ordered to go back and capture all the towns we'd bypassed and those orders were copied to the corps commanders. I told them to ignore the orders. We'd intercepted a message about a meeting on the 14th in Government House. I told the Air Force to bomb it. The governor resigned and went to the American consulgeneral with a ceasefire proposal. How did the surrender happen? Maneckshaw told me to go and get a surrender. I said, 'I've sent you a draft, do I negotiate on that?' He said, 'You know what to do.' At Gen Niazi's (chief of Pakistan's eastern command) headquarters, I read out my unconfirmed draft. Niazi said to me, "Who says I'm surrendering? I'm here to discuss the terms of the ceasefire." I told him I'd give him 30 minutes to think it over and after that I'd order the bombing of the Dhaka cantonment. Thirty minutes later, I went back and asked him three times if he'd accepted? There was no answer. So I told him I take the surrender as accepted. And that he would have to surrender in public; I'd already given the instructions. Why is the surrender story so controversial with so many versions in circulation? I haven't heard the other stories. My story is the one that I've written in my book Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation. I sent copies of it to Maneckshaw and to Aurora, and neither of them sent me a rejoinder. Maneckshaw, though, did ask me "why I put in that horrible photograph of his in the book?" What is your starkest memory from those days? I remember Gen Niazi's headquarters in Dhaka... when I read out the instrument of surrender to him, he burst into tears. And then at the Ramna Race Course, at the public surrender, the Bangladeshi people wanted to lynch him. We had a difficult time getting him out of there. Did we squander the advantage of the military victory? Yes. We should have got a written agreement from Pakistan President Bhutto in Shimla in 1972, saying the ceasefire line in J&K is the boundary line. But he said he couldn't give us anything in writing, for he'd be lynched back home. Bhutto later reneged on his word. The breaking up of Pakistan was supposed to make India safer. Has it? No, I don't think things are very different. Earlier, when there were two fronts - Pakistan to our west and East Pakistan (Bangladesh) to our east - Pakistan didn't really have the capacity needed to create trouble for us. Now, with all their troops and equipment in Pakistan, they're better able to focus on them.