Saturday, December 2, 2023

50 years of Indo-Pak war: Know India’s top10 heroes of 1971 war

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India has fought and won many wars which make it a glorious nation, the Indo-Pak war of 1971 is one such war. Today, on 50th Vijay Diwas, India marks 50 years of the Indo-Pak war victory. Some of the war heroes who essentially brought victory to India are mentioned below:

Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora had commanded the Eastern division of the Indian Army during the Liberation War. His forces utterly defeated Pakistani armies in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and forced their surrender. His photos accepting the surrender of around 93,000 Pakistani soldiers by Pakistani Maj. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi on 16 December 1971 stokes immense pride among Indians.

Field Marshal Sam ‘Bahadur’ Manekshaw had been the overall commander of the Indian Army during the 1971 Liberation War. His name always comes up alongside the Liberation War and he is also known for his affection, the iconic ‘Gorkha Hat’.

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Lt. Gen. Kunhiraman Palat Candeth has been in command of Indian Army’s Western division during the Liberation War. He commanded the Indian Army in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Kashmir where large tank battles took place. These battle were challenging since Pakistan had the American Patton tanks, far superior to the Indian variants. However, Indian skill and training won out against better equipment, as Pakistan lost most battles and a lot more tanks compared to India.

Rameshwar Nath Kao was the chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s intelligence-gathering service. He is known as the architect of Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan. The agency, led by him, retrieved valuable information about Pakistan’s armed forces during the 1971 War which proved a great aid in Indian and Mukti Bahini military operations.

Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri had been a Major during the Liberation War. He is immortalised for his part in the Battle of Longewala, where 120 Indian soldiers stood off against a Pakistani force of 2,000 and managed to repel them with 2 fatalities, whilst inflicting hundreds amongst their enemies and destroying dozens of tanks.

Major General Ian Cardozo is a true example of human endurance. He was badly wounded by a landmine after Dhaka was taken from Pakistani forces. His leg needed to be removed but there were no medics and despite the lack of morphine or any other form of pain-numbing medicine or anaesthesia, he used his khukhri knife to amputate his leg himself. However, having a prosthetic leg afterwards did not deter him, and after demonstrating his ability to be able to walk in harsh climate and terrain, and also defeating other army officers in hand-to-hand sparring, he was retained his command and continued to serve in the army.

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon is regarded as the only Air Force officer to ever be awarded the Param Vir Chakra. He had commandeered a Gnat fighter plane and stationed in the Srinagar Air Base. The Pakistani Air Force tried to destroy the entire base through aerial bombing but Nirmal took off and managed to bring down at least two enemy aircraft before being shot down.

2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal was a tank commander at the Battle of Basantar, a massive tank showdown. His actions led to the destruction of at least 10 Pakistani Patton tanks, far superior to the Indian ones. He had been severely wounded but refused to evacuate, managing to knock out one more Pakistani tank before finally losing his grip on life. For his actions, he was honoured with the Param Vir Chakra.

Brigadier Hoshiar Singh Dahiya had been a Major in The Grenadiers during the 1971 War and was ordered to capture the village of Jarpal. Pakistani forces launched attacks on his position but he kept passing along the lines, inspiring his men and also firing a machine gun at the enemies, whilst badly wounded. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Lance Naik Albert Ekka showed unrelenting determination during the Battle of Gangasagar. His company assaulted a heavily fortified and defended position where he rushed in and pierced two soldiers with his bayonet, ending the unceasing fire of an enemy machine gun. He had already been wounded badly but he continued on until his unit was held up once again by heavy machine gunfire. Despite his injuries, he crawled near and tossed a grenade, killing a soldier and wounding another but the machine gun continued firing. He charged in and bayoneted the soldier manning the machine gun. However, his injuries turned out to be fatal as he succumbed soon after the battle was won. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

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