India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only! As we all know that 2021 is being observed as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
On 3rd December 1971, Pakistan launched unprovoked surprise air attacks on several airbases in the Western Sector. The special characteristic of 1971 war was the complete coordination and co operation achieved among the three arms of India’s Defence Forces. More than anything else, made the lightning campaign leading to the liberation of Bangladesh, look so effortless. Pakistani armoured offensive at Longewala in Rajasthan was effectively stemmed and ultimately routed by a handful of IAF ‘Hunters’ where a whole regiment of T-54 tanks was destroyed by air action alone. Some of the major battles fought by the Indian Army in the 1971 war were the battle of Basantar, battle of Gangasagar, battle of Hilli and the battle of Bogra besides several others. On the western front, the Indian Navy carried out a daring operation in concept and execution by carrying out a raid on Karachi harbour.
The 14-day war was IAF’s finest hour. It proved the efficacy of India’s Air Power in the subcontinent. The end of the war resulted in creation of Bangladesh and subsequently signing of the Shimla Agreement with Pakistan on Kashmir.
The celebration of the event was started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 dec 2020 by lighting up ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ at the National War Memorial (NWM) in Delhi which kick started the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the 1971 India-Pakistan war and will culminate in Dec 2021 with a grand closure. As part of the celebrations, Victory Flames were handed over to the Indian Army by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which are being carried to all four cardinals of the country. These Mashaals are carried to various parts of the country including to villages of Param Vir Chakra and MahaVir Chakra Awardees of 1971 War. Soil from the villages of these Awardees and from areas where major battles were fought in 1971 are being brought to the NWM. The Defence forces have felicitated Veterans and Veer Naris and events like band displays, seminars, exhibitions, equipment displays, film festivals, conclave and adventure activities are conducted throughout the country.
The war which India fought to liberate Bangladesh was perhaps the first in which all three forces fought in unison. The Indian military’s stellar victories on land, sea and air crushed all hopes for Pakistan to maintain any control over its territory in the east. Similarly, the celebration of Vijay Varsh at a grand stage is the best way to show case our rich history and the fighting capability of our nation as a whole.