December 16, is observed as the 45th anniversary of the 1971 India–Pakistan war, the first battle after World War-II that the Indian Army won conclusively. The day marks the anniversary of military victory of Indian forces over Pakistan in Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. India’s victory over Pakistan is celebrated as Vijay Diwas. Our country won because we had the willpower and faith, which led us to victory. India will never forget the fearlessness with which our courageous soldiers gave a befitting and unforgettable reply to the intruders. The Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India. Kudos to all Indians and Bangladeshis on this day and salute to all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation. The Indian Army changed the course of history with its undeterred courage, dedication and professionalism, bringing glory and honour to the nation. It was the first major victory for a young Indian democracy and helped strengthen the confidence of the leadership and population. The Indian Army quickly responded to the Pakistan Army’s movements in the west and captured around 15,010 kilometers of their territory.
It was on this day in 1971, that a declaration of ceasefire was brought into force ending the Indo-Pak War and resulting in the birth of the sovereign country of Bangladesh. In this war Indian Army fought as the alliance of Bangladesh’s military Mukti Bahini. As the result of this war, East Pakistan emerged as an independent nation with the name Bangladesh. The end of the war also resulted in the unilateral surrender of the Pakistan Army. This historic victory signifies a unique and unparalleled feat wherein our forces fought selflessly for a just and noble cause: the liberation of the people of erstwhile East Pakistan and the creation of an independent Bangladesh.
There are several reasons for bringing back the victory in the ’71 war into public discourse. Let us not forget the lesson that a nation that ignores its army cannot afford peace.
We respect our soldiers. It is essential that we salute our heroes. We feel secure in our homes because of our armed forces and this is an occasion to remember their courage and sacrifice. Today, if our country is safe and independent, it is because of their efforts. Let us pay tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation. We should never forget the sacrifices they made for us.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)