On this day 49 years ago, an unusual war on the Indian subcontinent ended, and a new nation was born. Maj Gen Ranjit Nadkarni (Retd) VSM, now Melbourne-based, talks to PAWAN LUTHRA about his involvement in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
He recounts his early involvement as a young captain in eastern India, training the Mukti Bahini as the Bangladeshi resistance movement was called, and months later, fighting the war on the western front in Amritsar.
Gen Nadkarni pays homage here to some “superior leadership” naming Army chief Sam Maneckshaw and Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora among others for masterminding a foolproof plan, while not forgetting those lower down who saw the implementation of this plan.
Listen also to his personal recollections of General Maneckshaw, the Prime Minister of the day Indira Gandhi, and that other figure who hovered in the background – Richard Nixon, then President of the USA.
“I would say the Bangladesh Liberation War is unparalleled as a war effort, in terms of the aims accomplished in a military operation,” Gen Nadkarni has said. “It resulted in the birth of a new nation. And that it took only 13 days, is a fact that has never failed to amaze me.”
(This interview was recorded in Dec 2020)