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1971 Bangladesh war and role of India

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

On 26 March 1971, a country was born with which India shares it's longest border of 4,096 kilometer (2,545-mile) which was earlier part of Pakistan known as the East Pakistan and prior to that it was part of Bengal combined with today's West Bengal which is a state of India.

(Image source - Internet)

The first Partition of Bengal (1905) was a territorial reorganization of the Bengal Presidency implemented by the authorities of the British Raj. The British divided Bengal due to rising nationalism in the region and to keep things under control as they have done throughout their rule that is to divide and rule. The reorganization separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas. This is how territorially, today's Bangladesh, earlier east Bengal was separated from mainland India. Then after the formation of Pakistan the region went off to them as East Pakistan which could only survive until 1971.

The West Pakistan Government (today's Pakistan) oppressed the Bengali speaking population of East Pakistan and did not recognize their rights of language and administration and started committing atrocities in the region even the Army of Pakistan butchered , killed and raped it's own citizens in East Pakistan. All these oppressions made way for the Birth of a nation called Bangladesh.


1971 Liberation war also known as the Bangladesh war of independence. This war outraged because of the intramural situation in Pakistan this eventually led to war between Pakistan and India and the secession of East Pakistan.

India and Pakistan separated as a result of two nation theory; India became a secular nation with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains etc. The regions with Muslims as majority went to Pakistan so is the case with today's Bangladesh at the time of Partition, it went to Pakistan.

The conflict arose when east Bengal became a part of Pakistan during division and that led to many religious differences between eastern and western Pakistan. The west tried to impose Urdu as an official language and caused linguistic-cultural opposition movement. The major conflict was due to the religious difference only as the west has a greater majority of Muslims and east has less with some percent of Hindus, Bengalis and others.

The majority of people in Pakistan spoke Bangla, but Mohammad Ali Jinnah proclaimed in 1948 that "Urdu, and only Urdu," a language only spoken by Muhajirs in the West and by Biharis in the East would be the only official language for the entire country. On February 21, 1952, an uprising in East Pakistan claimed the lives of several students and ordinary citizens.

On 26th March, 1971 M.A. Hannan an Awami league leader broadcasted on radio the deceleration of independence.

The Pakistani military was engaged in a widespread guerrilla fight by the Bangladesh Forces. In the early months of the battle, they liberated a great number of towns and cities. The war lasted for almost 8 months, caused a lot of casualties.

Between 300,000 and 3,000,000 persons were killed by personnel of the Pakistani Armed Forces and supporting pro-Pakistani Islamist militias from Jamaat-e-Islami.

The military forces of West Pakistan that were in Bangladesh surrendered on December 16, 1971, marking the conclusion of the war and the largest soldier surrender since World War II.

The Role of India

India played a vital role, it provided economic, diplomatic and military support to Bangladesh. From the month of September, the Indian army gradually started to participate directly in the Liberation War. Initially the support was limited to indirect fire support (artillery support) to Mukti Bahini units. From November, the Indian army was permitted to conduct operations up to 10 miles inside Bangladesh territory. This was to clear Pakistan army positions from the borders areas in preparation for the December war.

The final war in December was primarily fought by the Indian army units. The Mukti Bahini units were responsible to provide second tier support to the Indian formations. Take, for example, Akhaura. It was the Indian army that led the main attack. Mukti Bahini responsibility was to encircle the enemy so that they could not escape of reinforced.

Eventually Bangladesh was liberated and Indian Army suffered casualties, 90 killed, 252 wounded and 17 missing in these operations, as per

After the WAR

The Bangladesh-India border was opened to allow the Bangladeshi Refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. Exiled Bangladeshi army officers and voluntary workers from India immediately started using these camps for the recruitment and training of Mukti Bahini guerrillas.

In order to achieve self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing in Bangladesh, India assisted Bangladesh in setting up manufacturing and service facilities for the defence platforms that both nations currently possess.

Additionally, India offered the Bangladesh military expert training as well as technical and logistical support.

Also, It is well known that Pakistan have been committing atrocities with it's own people and religious impulse is the highest in the country and eventually India has a neighbor to deal with which is economically bankrupt, politically unstable, non ethical with Army controlled puppet government.




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