Though the India-Pakistan war of 1971 was fought between December 3 to December 16, 1971, its ground was prepared on November 21.
The day is marked with history defining incidents that completely changed the geopolitics of South Asia. A nation was again divided and a nation was again born in this corner of the world and it gave Pakistan a sore point that it will have to survive with as long as it continues to be ruled (and riled) with the same mindset that its ruling military and political dispensation of the moment has.
We can rule out any change. It doesn’t look possible in the foreseeable future because Pakistan’s ruling elite including its military and feeble polity derive their sanction from the anti-India propaganda they propagate and hysteria they create.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces (its army, navy and air-force) was formed on November 21, 1971 and Bangladesh celebrates November 21 every year as its Armed Forces Day. It was a more organized form of the Mukti Bahini, the grouping of Bangladesh freedom fighters formed in March 1971.
The Indian Army and the Bangladesh Armed Forces (Mukti Bahini) formed an alliance against Pakistan on the same day, November 21, 1971.
The Indian Army, with the Mukti Bahini, had launched attack on strategically important Garibpur Village 7 Kms deep inside East Pakistan on November 21, 1971. India’s 14 Punjab Battalion and Squadron 45 Cavalry tanks faced Pakistan’s army and its tanks. And how hollow Pakistan’s big claims were can be gauged from the fact that India and the Mukti Bahini conquered the village only in two days, on November 23, while inflicting heavy damage on the Pakistani side. This unmatched bravery of the Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini is now known as the ‘Battle of Garibpur’.
And the rest – as we all know – is history. The Indian Army that was so far supporting the Mukti Bahini in its freedom struggle openly launched offensive against Pakistan and the whole war affair got over in just 13 days with the declaration of Bangladesh’s liberation on December 16, 1971 wiping out East Pakistan from geographical and geopolitical map of the world. The images are inscribed in history – Pakistan’s commander Lt. Gen. AA Khan Niazi along with 93000 Pakistani troops and civilians laying down arms and surrendering before India and signing the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ with India’s commander Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora.
That is the reason the final stage of Bangladesh’s freedom struggle of 1971, that began on an organized scale in March 1971 with the formation of Mukti Bahini, is known as the India-Pakistan war of 1971. Bangladesh celebrates March 26 as its Independence Day, the day on which it had declared its independence from Pakistan in 1971 while both India and Bangladesh celebrate December 16 as Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) – the day when Bangladesh won its freedom in 1971 – or we can say India won the freedom for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is celebrating its 45th Independence Day and Victory Day this year and is planning to honour 1971 war veterans from India including the veterans of the ‘Battle of Garibpur’.