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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Vijay Diwas: A flashback on how Bharat won a war, helped Bangladesh get independence but failed to bargain with loser Pakistan

On Wednesday, both Bharat and Bangladesh are remembering ‘Vijay Diwas’, which marks the Liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) from the clutches of Pakistan army, which had unleashed unprecedented atrocities mostly on Hindus in the war of independence in 1971, reports Samhati Samvad.

Bharat played a key role in Bangladesh’s independence providing military and other support to that country but failed to bargain over certain issues that remain to haunt the country till now.

A twitter message from Hindu Samhati president Debtanu Bhattacharya enlivened a substantial issue which could have been a ‘game changer’ for Bharat and provided a geopolitical advantage to the country.

“It was quite possible to liberate #POK and some Hindu majority areas from East Pakistan in exchange of 93k Pakistani surrendered soldiers in 1971. We won the war on ground but lost in the negotiation table. #VijayDiwas,” Bhattacharya said on twitter.

His twitter message brought the memories of armed conflict between Pakistan army and Bangladesh mukti joddhas (freedom fighters) alive. Bharat, despite being a Hindu-majority country, stood close to Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation, which bore the brunt of atrocities by Pakistani army.

The tweet highlighted the ‘strategic blunder’ made by Indira Gandhi government despite being in an advantageous position. Indian army forced around 93,000 Pakistani troops to surrender, who were taken as prisoners of war (PoW). The 13-day duration of the war also makes it one of the shortest wars in history.

“We could not reap the strategic benefits. Had India made bargain over the position of minority Hindus in Bangladesh and asked for the entire PoK to be given to us, the situation could have been different,” Bhattacharya said.

Pakistan army, led by Lieutenant General Tikka Khan, launched Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971 against the liberation army and Hindus in East Pakistan.

The conflict between Bharat and Pakistan, which formally began on December 3, 1971, came to an end in less than two weeks on December 16, 1971, when the Eastern Command chief of the Indian Army, Lt Gen JS Aurora, forced the Eastern Command chief of the Pakistan Army, Lt Gen AAK Niazi, to sign the instrument of surrender.

With Bharat’s active help, East Pakistan became Bangladesh and Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the first Prime Minister in January 1972.

Mujib, who was assassinated in 1975, is the father of current Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina.

(This article first appeared on samhatisamvad.com and is being republished with minor edits to conform to HinduPost styleguide)

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