WAR 1971

Discussion in 'Military History' started by LETHALFORCE, Mar 8, 2009.


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  13. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2009
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    A great thread...

    I saw a report on TV a few years ago about a military ceremony held every evening at a village in Belgium in honour of Indian soldiers who died trying to save their village from the Nazi onslaught.

    It seems they died fighting but didn't yield an inch.

    The Belgians honour our soldiers more than our own governments !!!

    The life of a soldier doesn't seem to matter to our politicians at all... All they do is play politics... For them, the life of a soldier is just a mere statistic....

    Shame on our politicians who don't give our soldiers their due and play around with their salaries with appalling setups like the Pay Commission.

    Glory to the Soldiers !!! Glory to the nation !!!
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  14. Atul

    Atul Founding Member

    Feb 24, 2009
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    aditya10r and W.G.Ewald like this.
  15. 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.
  16. 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

  17. 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


  18. 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.
  19. 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/
  20. 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
  21. 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/

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