On December 16, 1971, the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered formally to the Indian Army, and Bangladesh was born.
Thirty six years later, we should remember all those gallant soldiers, sailors, airmen and para-military who laid down their lives in the service of our nation, not only in 1971, but also in the wars of 1948, 1962, 1965 and the incursions in Kargil.
In 1971 the pattern of operations was defensive-offensive in the West and a lightning offensive in the East. The thirteen days of operations in the East resulted in the unconditional surrender of Pakistan's Eastern Command.
The ceasefire proposed by Pakistan under the auspices of the United Nations was converted into an unconditional surrender of some 93,000 officers and men.
Pakistan`s General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi had some 30,000 troops in Dacca as opposed to the mere 3,000 Indian soldiers outside the city. He had the capacity to fight on for weeks. And if he had, a Polish resolution being debated at the United Nations for a ceasefire and withdrawal under the auspices of the United Nations could have come into force. But instead, he agreed to surrender.
Asked why he agreed to the humiliation of an unconditional public surrender, the only one in history, General Niazi told the Commission of Enquiry in Pakistan that he was blackmailed by General Jacob, the author, into surrendering. He repeated this in his book Betrayal of East Pakistan.
The officers and men of our Army, Navy and Air Force are the finest in the world. But they need to have the wherewithal to execute their duties, namely state-of-the-art weaponry and equipment. They also require suitable emoluments and facilities commensurate with the difficult tasks they have to perform. Most importantly, they need to have the izzat, or honour, they deserve.
Time was when the status equations of service officers with their IAS and IPS counterparts were commensurate with their respective responsibilities. Sadly, after every war, this equation has been downgraded.
Some in the IAS are interpreting civil control of the Armed Forces as civil service control. The IAS officers are government servants, and not the Government, as some of them would like to believe.
Pictures courtesy: www.bharat-rakshak.com
Image: Lieutenant General A A K `Tiger` Niazi, Commander of the Pakistan Army in the East, signs the Instrument of Surrender in the presence of Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora. Standing from right is Major General J F R Jacob, Lieutenant General Sagat Singh, Air Marshal H C Dewan and Vice Admiral N Krishnan. (Inset: J F R Jacob)