Today is December 16; the day Bangladesh was born 45 years ago, the day India fought a war against its neighbour Pakistan. The efforts and sacrifices of precious Indian lives led to the liberation of East Pakistan and formation of an eastern neighbourhood –Bangladesh.
- On this day in 1971, the then Governor of East Pakistan Lt General AAK Niazi and his 93,000 troops admitted defeat to the joined forces –the Indian Army and East Pakistan’s Mukti Bahini- led by Lt General Jagjit Singh Arora. The surrender was signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka. This is the same place where on March 7 a historic speech was delivered by Mujibur Rehman declaring East Pakistan’s independence from Pakistan, marking the end of the war.
- The reason of the war was the clashes between East and West Pakistan. During the time West Pakistanis, also the ruling class of the period disrespected the culture, tradition and language of the people belonging to the East Pakistan. Upset by the approach East Pakistanis wanted a freedom from them.
- In March 1971, the Pakistani Army’s attack on Dacca University panicked the East Pakistani which forced around 9 million people to leave the region and take refuge in India. India welcomed the people with open arms and organised food and shelter for the refugees.
- Later, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, took a courageous decision and expressed her support for the formation of a new nation by launching a war.
- Though the war lasted for few days but we lost 42 Indian fighters and 81 tankers as opposed to 86 aircrafts and 226 tankers of Pakistan.
Today on the 45th anniversary of Vijay Diwas we salute the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to protect others.