New Delhi, Oct 30: The nation remembers the former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary every year on 31st October. She was India’s first woman prime minister and served the country from 1966 to 1976 and from 1980 to 1984. She was an eminent figure of the Indian National Congress. A slew of reforms was introduced in India under her leadership.
As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political intransigency and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India's influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia.
The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi decided to intervene in the Pakistan Civil War and help liberate East Pakistan. She did this to support democracy in East Pakistan, which was being denied its right to governance by Pakistani rulers.
Pakistani Air Force launched a pre-emptive air strike on eleven air-fields in India on 3rd December 1971 at around 5:40 pm.
“Trying to catch the Indian Air Force napping, Yahya Khan, launched a Pakistani version of Israel’s 1967 air blitz in hopes that one rapid attack would cripple India’s far superior air power. But India was alert, Pakistani pilots were inept, and Yahya’s strategy of scattering his thin air force over a dozen air fields was a bust!”
During these attacks, Taj Mahal was covered with twigs and leaves and draped with burlap as its marble glowed very bright.
During the war, Indian and Pakistani militaries simultaneously clashed on the eastern and western fronts; the war ended after the Eastern Command of the Pakistan military signed the Instrument of Surrender on 16 December 1971 in Dhaka, marking the formation of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh. Officially, East Pakistan had earlier called for its secession from the unity of Pakistan on 26 March 1971.
Approximately 90,000 to 93,000 Pakistani servicemen were taken prisoner by the Indian Army, which included 79,676 to 81,000 uniformed personnel of the Pakistan Armed Forces, including some Bengali soldiers who had remained loyal to Pakistan. The remaining 10,324 to 12,500 prisoners were civilians, either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars). It is estimated that between 300,000 and 3,000,000 civilians were killed in Bangladesh. As a result of the conflict, a further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek refuge in India.Picture source: Internet