Updated on: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 05:22 PM IST

What is Vijay Diwas? All you need to know about India's victory over Pakistan in 1971 war

'You surrender or We wipe you out' was the message given by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw to Pakistan on 13th December 1971. | Twitter/@adgpi

'You surrender or We wipe you out' was the message given by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw to Pakistan on 13th December 1971. | Twitter/@adgpi


The 1971 Indo-Pak War was one of the defining moments in the history of the subcontinent which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh. It also established the prowess of Indian Armed Forces including the Army, Air Force and Navy.

Vijay Diwas is celebrated on December 16 every year to commemorate the victory of India over Pakistan in 1971 and to honor Bangladeshi and Indian martyrs who laid down their lives in the war.

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the event.

What is Vijay Diwas?

In 1971, Bangladesh fought the Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan to become an Independent country,

The conflict was sparked by the Liberation War of Bangladesh following West Pakistan’s ill-treatment of the people and undermining the election results in East Pakistan. The call for secession was officially raised on March 26, 1971, by East Pakistan. India’s then Prime Minister expressed full support for their independence struggle on the very next day.

The media had reported widespread genocide against Bengalis, mainly Hindus, at the hands of the Pakistani military, which forced about 10 million people to migrate to neighbouring India. India opened its borders for the Bengali refugees.

The Indian Air Force flew about 4000 sorties in the western front and close to two thousand in the east. PAF could offer little in retaliation with around 2800 and 30 sorties on the two fronts. IAF continued to raid forward air bases in Pakistan till the end of the war.

The Indian Navy's Western Naval Command successfully conducted a surprise attack on Karachi port under the codename Trident on the night of December 4-5.

Pakistan had also mobilized its troops along the western front. The Indian Army retaliated and captured several thousand kilometers of Pakistani territory.

Pakistan suffered the maximum casualty with about 8000 dead and 25,000 wounded, while India lost 3000 soldiers and 12,000 were wounded.

The Mukti Bahini guerrillas in East Pakistan joined hands with the Indian forces to fight against Pakistani troops in the east. They received weapons and training from the Indian Army.

At the end of the war, around 93,000 Pakistani troops led by General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrendered to the allied forces.

This marked the end of the 9 month-long war and and official secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.

Pakistan was stripped of more than half of its population, as Bangladesh was more populous than West Pakistan. Nearly one-third of its army was captured. India’s military dominance was telling though it maintained restraint in its reaction to the victory.

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Published on: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 05:23 PM IST