Few campaigns in history have caused as much surprise and speculation as the Indian Armed Forces' liberation of Bangladesh; and
with good reason.
The watching world formed an image of our military machine: the verdict- a good second class British left-over, steadily declining in operational potential. Surprisingly self-sufficient in weapons and ammunitions for a developing nation-it was nevertheless on the wane in actual combat capability. At best it could be considered comparable to the Pakistan armed forces-but, in Western eyes, even that was debatable.
Suddenly, it seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat. After a period of seeming impotence during the earlier part of the Bangladesh crisis, which was perhaps the most critical period of our history, the Indian armed forces executed, within the brief period of 12 days, the most decisive liberation campaign in military history giving a nation of 75 million people its independence in one of the most difficult terrains in the world- in which the few existing national highways and railway systems had been disrupted by their insurgent allies-Indian Forces, moving with incredible swiftness, brought a formidable enemy to his knees and took 93,000 of them pnsoner.
Foreign observers have compared this achievement of the Indian armed forces to the German Blitzkrieg of the Second World War. The Sunday Times of London, which had reporters on all the fronts, wrote on 12 December ,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 previously rated second-class military
machine of a developing country had planned,. directed, managed and executed an operation of incredible complexity with consummate skill and sophistication.
Author: Maj Gen DK Palit, VrC (Retd)
ISBN: 1 897829 37 X