Saturday, 22 January, 2022
E-paper

December 4, 1971

Pakistan declared war against India

The overall situation of the war was shifting rapidly a day after Pakistan started attacks on India. Though Pakistan attacked several Indian bases on December 3, it formally waged war against India on December 4.

Pakistani President Yahya Khan in a radio address to the nation on the day declared war against India saying that Pakistan has tolerated so much for long. “Time has arrived to strike back the enemy. Pakistan army will not only drive the Indian force out of ‘Pakistan soil’ but also hurt them in their own boundary,” he said in his address.

Yahya Khan ordered his army to enter India for carrying out attacks.

The world witnessed an unprecedented situation on this day. Indian fighter jets bombed different military establishments in Dhaka and Chattogram.

People of two cities welcomed Indian fighter planes with cheers from the roofs of their houses whenever a plane appeared in the sky.

Residents of Dhaka city saw numerous dog fights between Pakistan and Indian fighter jets.

Dhaka was virtually the base of Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Most of their fighter jets were stationed here. The PAF had two squadrons of jets, 28 fighter planes – 14 Chinese Mig-19 and 14 US-made Sabre F-86.

Before Pakistan declared war against India, President Yahya ordered the Migs to return to Pakistan, but the Sabres remained in Tejgaon airport.

Almost half of the squadron of those Sabres was damaged in the Indian air attacks.

In the face of continuous and severe attacks, Pakistan Air Force in Dhaka weakened significantly and Pakistan realised that their days in Bangladesh are about to come to an end.

On the other hand, Indian Navy, on the day, claimed that they destroyed three water vessels near Karachi port.

The joint force of East Bengal Regiment and another troupe led by sector 1 Captain Mahfuz advanced to Chattogram from western sector and continued their move towards the eastern sector.

They passed the camps quietly skipping the Pakistani camps on straight lines to confuse the Pakistan military.

A spokesperson of Pakistan government said, ‘both parts of Pakistan’ were experiencing heavy conflicts. Indian pressure in ‘East Pakistan’ was dealt with equal aggression.

In another development, Acting President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Syed Nazrul Islam and Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In the letter they said, “Madam Prime Minister, we have the honour to inform you that in view of the direct aggression committed by Pakistan against your country on the 3rd December, the freedom fighters of Bangladesh are ready to fight the aggressive forces in Bangladesh, in any sector or in any front.”

“Our joint stand against military mechanisations of Pakistan would be further facilitated, if we enter into formal diplomatic relations with each other,” the letter said.

“We therefore, repeat our request to Your Excellency that the government of India accord immediate recognition to our country and our government. We should like to take this opportunity to assure Your Excellency that the government and the people of Bangladesh stand solidly with you.”

“It is our earnest hope that our joint assistance to the nefarious plans and intensions of President Yahya Khan will be brought to a successful conclusion,” the letter said.

On this day, an emergency meeting was called by United Nations Security Council where US representative George Herbert Walker Bush proposed a ceasefire, but it was not passed as Soviet envoy Comrade Yakov Malik vetoed the proposal.

Poland also voted against the proposal. However, France and England abstained from voting on the ceasefire proposal.

Meanwhile, the United States demanded at the UN Security Council that India and Pakistan withdraw their troops from their respective territories.

China, on the day, promised firm support to Pakistan again.