It is certainly indisputable that Indian leadership opposed the creation of Pakistan tooth and nail, and could never reconcile with the creation of Pakistan. Revisionism was never abandoned and has remained at the core of its longstanding aims and ambitions, for which it took a number of steps and continues to do so up till this very day. The Indian role in 1971 War was admitted by its Prime Minister in June 2015 when he claimed that the rebels who fought against Pakistan and committed atrocities were undercover Indian soldiers. This confession was remarkable and a break from the country’s stance as earlier they had maintained their position that the indigenous rebels led the war in 1971 and India had to intervene on humanitarian grounds due to the emerging refugee crisis.
Its role in indoctrinating, training and equipping the Mukti Bahini well before the commencement of the war in 1971 – from conventional and unconventional war; psychological operations, intelligence and military angle – is well documented. India laid the foundation of cross-border terrorism in the subcontinent as early as 1968, through its Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which later took the shape of Mukti Bahini. It is no secret that R. N. Kao, the founder-chief of RAW, is famously known as one of the architects of Bangladesh for his role in the 1971 War. Much before Indian Army took over the role of training the Mukti Bahini – when the elements of East Bengal Rifles revolted and crossed over to India – RAW had already begun training small groups of volunteers and moving them to East Pakistan. As early as in May 1971, a structured policy to provide training facilities, logistics, and operational support to Mukti Bahini was formulated by Indian Army’s Eastern Command. Guerilla bases were created inside Bangladesh and each was under a Bengali politician who was responsible for conducting psychological warfare to lower the morale of Pakistani forces and incite the local populace.
The Indian plan of attacking East Pakistan from all directions by carrying out a battle of encirclement and finally converging in Dhaka was put into action and merely 45,000 outnumbered troops had to fight an all-out Indian assault along with the Mukti Bahini and a hostile local population. Geographical compulsions were shaped by two fronts that were more than a thousand miles apart, hence making it difficult to contend with the myriad of challenges the country was confronted with.
Despite these overwhelming odds and least strategic factors on its side, the resilience, courage and gallantry displayed by the Pakistan Armed Forces was exemplary. In the Western theatre, Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force scored some major successes against India, captured a territory of great strategic significance, and inflicted heavy damages. The bravery of our men in service of the country can be gauged from the impossible circumstances of the time, a battle that was fraught with insufficient resources and an unreliable supply line. At places, the individual units had to fight isolated battles despite being cut off, heavily outnumbered and encircled by the enemy, but nothing could waiver their resolve or morale and they continued to fight, refusing to abandon their positions. They fought the war with an unquestionable honor, absolute commitment, dignity, professionalism and steadfastness up until the very last moment.
Fifty years after the war, the heroes who fought and laid down their lives for Pakistan with their backs against the wall shall not be forgotten.
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