The Victor and the Vanquished, signing the Instrument of SurrenderSlideShow | Thumbnails
The 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh (Op Cactus Lily) is a landmark conflict in the annals of military history. It was a ‘just war’ that transformed the map of the Subcontinent and saw the birth of a new nation-state, brought about by the force of Indian Arms. It was a classical blitzkrieg that in just 14 days cut through to Dhaka, the capital of erstwhile East Pakistan. It was an unparalleled and monumental military victory that put India on the military map of the world. That such high rates of mobility were generated in riverine terrain that could be the nightmare of any attacker, is in itself a remarkable feat. The riverine terrain placed the prime burden of operations on the infantry. Ably supported by the Indian Air Force, which had won complete air supremacy in the East, the Indian Army was able to maintain a high tempo and a rapid campaign that was typical of the classic Blitzkrieg. Maj Gen Monty Palit, the eminent Indian military historian has aptly called it the ‘Lightening Campaign’.