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Daily History

December 3, 1971 – Pakistan invades India as a result of the Bangladeshi struggle for freedom


Indo-Pakistan War 1971

Indo-Pakistan War 1971

The British Empire once stretched into almost every continent on Earth.

In 1947, Britain dismantled its Indian empire and partitioned the sub-continent, resulting in an eruption of tensions between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan itself was divided by civil war after its 1970 election saw the East Pakistani Awami League party win 167 of 169 seats in East Pakistan and 313 in total, claiming the right to form the Government.

However, the Pakistan People’s Party, representing West Pakistan, refused to give premiership of Pakistan to the East Pakistan party, and called in the military, which was made up largely of West Pakistanis. Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, openly supported the Bangladeshi (East Pakistan) struggle for freedom, and opened the Bangladesh-India border to allow safe refuge to the Bengalis in India.

On 3 December 1971, the border battles escalated into full scale war as Pakistan launched air raids on India. The raids were not successful, and the Indian Air Force launched a counter-attack, quickly achieving the military upper hand.

The Indian Army, together with exiled Bangladeshi fighters, launched a massive coordinated air, sea, and land attack on Pakistan, gaining ground quickly, and forcing the Pakistani Army to retreat. On December 6, India became the first nation to recognise the new Bangladeshi government. On December 16 the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered, and agreed to a unilateral ceasefire.

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