The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was the direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to have been Operation Chengiz Khan, when Pakistan launched pre-emptive air strikes on 11 Indian airbases on 3 December 1971, leading to India's entry into the war of independence in East Pakistan on the side of Bangladeshi nationalist forces, and the commencement of hostilities with West Pakistan. Lasting just 13 days, it is considered to be one of the shortest wars in history.
The dawn of 1971 saw a great human tragedy unfolding in erstwhile East Pakistan. Entire East Pakistan was in revolt. In the West, General Yahya Khan, who had appointed himself President in 1969, had given the job of pacifying East Pakistan to his junior, General Tikka Khan. The crackdown of 25 March 1971 ordered by Tikka Khan, left thousands of Bengalis dead and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was arrested the next day. The same day, the Pakistani Army began airlifting two of its divisions plus a brigade strength formation to its Eastern Wing. Attempts to dis-arm Bengali troops were not entirely successful and within weeks of the 25 March massacres, many former Bengali officers and troops of the Pakistani Army had joined Bengali resistance fighters in different parts of East Pakistan.
The East Pakistan campaign would always be remembered as a model in innovation and would serve to inspire generations of soldiers of the future.
Author: Kunwar Ishwar Singh Rathore (Ed)
Features: HB, Lenin Media