Monday, September 5, 2016

Performance of Pakistan Armed Forces in 1971 War

Talking with Karan Thapar on BBC's Face-to-Face about the 1971 India-Pakistan war, India's Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw said as follows:

"About the 5th day of the (1971) conflict in (East Pakistan)...everything had gone wrong (for India); the (Indian) Navy had lost the Khukri; Our (India) Air Force has lost a lot of aircraft on the ground; my (Indian Army's) advances in Bangladesh were halted......The Pakistan Army in East Pakistan fought very gallantly but they had no chance; they were a thousand miles away from their base; I had 8 or 9 months of preparation; I had almost 50:1 advantage; they had no chance but they fought very gallantly."

Clearly, Indian Army Chief Sam Manekshaw was the victor of the 1971 war  but he also was honest in acknowledging the fact that he had all the advantages over his enemy Pakistan....in fact, he said he had "almost 50:1 advantage".

In addition to praising Pakistan Army's gallantry, the Field Marshal also mentioned the losses suffered by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. Let's look at what he was talking about.



Sinking of Indian Navy Frigate INS Khukri:

Pakistan Navy submarine PNS Hangor sunk Indian warship INS Khukri off the coast of Diu, Gujarat on December 9, 1971, the first such sinking of a warship since WW2 by a submarine.  194 Indian Navy sailors died in the sinking that has been described in detail by the Indian Defense Review in 2014.

INS Kirpan,  another Indian warship which was close by when the attack took place fled the scene rather than attempt to rescue the sailors on board Khukri. Had Kirpan mounted rescue, at least some of the lives of the194 people (18 officers and 176 sailors) who perished in the sinking of INS Khukri could have been saved.

A book by retired Major General Ian Cardozo of the Indian Army on the sinking of Khukri has recorded the dismay of some of survivors at the cowardice INS Kirpan's captain and staff.

 “We were hoping that Kirpan, our sister ship would come to rescue us but we saw her sailing away from the area”, Commander Manu Sharma, a survivor of Khukri, has been quoted by Cardozo.

 “An early rescue was what everyone hoped for. We thought that at least INS Kirpan would send boat for our rescue, but no rescue boat came from INS Kirpan” Lt Commander SK Basu, who was aboard Khukri and survived the Pakistani attack, told Cardozo.

Prior to the Khukri sinking, Indian Navy had launched missile attacks on Karachi port and destroyed an oil terminal causing a huge oil fire that lit up the night sky.

After the sinking of Khukri, the Indian Navy ceased its attacks on Karachi and moved the focus of its operations to East Pakistan ports like Chittagong and Cox's Bazar.   To date, INS Khukri is the only ship lost in combat in the history of the Indian Navy.

Indian Air Force Losses:

Pakistan Air Force struck Indian air bases and destroyed scores of Indian Air Force fighter aircraft sitting on the ground as acknowledged by Field Marshall Manekshaw in his interview with Karan Thapar.

Legendary USAF pilot General Chuck Yeager observed the performance of the Pakistan Air Force in 1971 war.  Here's what he wrote in his autobiography "The Right Stuff":

 "This air force (the PAF), is second to none...The (1971) air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing thirty-four airplanes of their own. I'm certain about the figures because I went out several times a day in a chopper and counted the wrecks below...They were really good, aggressive dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying. "

Ground War on the Western Front:

There is a myth that Pakistan lost the 1971 war not just in the East but also on the western front. India did take territory in farflung, desolate and uninhabited areas of negligible importance but lost more of the fertile land in strategic areas.

Here's an except from Indian Defense Review on 1971 ground war on western front:

"The major Indian gains claimed in terms of area were about 3,200 square kilometres in the Ladakh region under Lt Gen Sartaj Singh and 1,200 square kilometres. under Lt Gen G G Bewoor in the Rajasthan Desert. In both regions these gains lay in farflung, desolate, uninhabited and difficult areas of negligible economic, strategic and political value which could hurt the rulers of Pakistan only in their prestige. On the other hand, Sartaj Singh lost the area of Chhamb, where the aftermath of the refugee problem still haunts the Jammu and Kashmir administration. The loss of the Kasowala bulge, the Hussainiwala enclave and the Fazilka agricultural belt in Punjab could not be equated with marginal gains in the Sehjra bulge and the Mamdot enclave in economic, military or political terms. The Indian occupation of the major portion of the Shakargarh bulge was somewhat embarrassing to the Bhutto government.....Rawlley lost more than he gained in Punjab. The loss of Hussainiwala, the Fazilka cotton track and Chhina Bidhi Chand were inexcusable. The battle in this sector was a peripheral loss and gain of border outposts and nothing more."


Summary:

Pakistan Army fought gallantly against an Indian Army which had an "almost 50:1 advantage" in East Pakistan as acknowledged by Indian Army Chief Sam Maneckshaw who led the Indian military to victory over Pakistan in 1971.

At the same time, Pakistani Army, Navy and Air Force scored major successes against India on the western front. Pakistanis not only captured territory of greater economic and strategic value from India but also inflicted disproportionately heavy damage to Indian Air Force and Navy in 1971.

Here's a video clip of Sam Maneckshaw speaking with Karan Thapar on 1971 war:

https://vimeo.com/55461334


Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on Pakistan Army's gallantry in 1971 War from cherie22579 on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's War Hero Manekshaw Passes On

India's Pakistan Obsession

Is this a 1971 Moment in Pakistan's History?

What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Ex Indian Spy Documents India's Covert Wars Against Pakistan

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

13 comments:

Mahesh said...

All soldiers are trained to fight valiantly. The superiors and the decision makers above them are the ones who are responsible.
Ultimately, just as in any sport, it only matters who comes out victorious in war.

Sammy said...

Agreed. There are stories of valor on both sides but the question is, what has Pakistan Superiors or High Command achieved in the last 60 odd years?
Kashmir banega Pakistan is still an impossible pipe dream despite lives sacrificed in 1965 and then again in the blunder of Kargil

Any over dominant military without civilian checks and balances will succumb to the hubris of catastrophic blunders

Riaz Haq said...

Sammy: "Kashmir banega Pakistan is still an impossible pipe dream despite lives sacrificed in 1965 and then again in the blunder of Kargil"

Kashmir is very much alive as an issue today in spite of India's best efforts to make it go away.

Pakistan has played a crucial role in keeping it alive.

A new generation of Kashmiris has now renewed the struggle against the brutal occupation of their home by 700,000 Indian troops.

In fact, nukes have made the Kashmir more relevant than ever.

It's recognized by the world as a nuclear flashpoint that must be resolved for world peace.

Unknown said...

A certain man named Tareq Fateh is often on Indian TV channels spewing hatred against Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular. His most common anti Pakistan rant which he uses to please his mostly Hindu extremest audience from whom he pockets millions no doubt is how Pakistan was badly beaten up by India in the 65 war. He fails to mention the fact that there was a huge size difference between the Indian and Pakistani army in the 65 war and that the Indian army failed badly in its main objective to capture Lahore... One day you should enlighten him Mr. Haq... Debate him

Riaz Haq said...

Unk: " One day you should enlighten him Mr. Haq... Debate him"


Tarek Fatah vs Riaz Haq on India, Pakistan and Muslims

Please read and watch: http://www.riazhaq.com/2016/02/tarek-fatah-vs-riaz-haq-on-india.html

Anonymous said...

Tariq Fateh is looking for his 15 minutes of glory. No need to pay any attention to him. I enjoy hearing opposing views but was quite disappointed when he started making fun of physical features of Zakir Naik? What has a man's appearance got to do with what he is saying?

Also, Tariq Fateh lacks any original thought. All his views are borrowed from others.

G. Ali

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Excellent article as usual but the timing is a bit off. It is an odd time to write about the 1971 war, that shud be done in December. Sep is the time to write about 1965 when the Pakkki army scored a victory of Ghaznavid proportions over the Hindoos.

Regards

dantes said...

Haq : "Kashmir is very much alive as an issue today in spite of India's best efforts to make it go away.

Pakistan has played a crucial role in keeping it alive. "


That's true its Alive , keep it that way !! I believe you are 60 years old atleast . So given the shape you are in and life expectancy in US you may have 20 more years to live at best.

So do you foresee any change in the status quo over Kashmir in next 20 years ?
If no ? Then I must say a lifetime went in chasing the improbable
Be realistic in your introspection and then answer .

Riaz Haq said...

dantes: "So do you foresee any change in the status quo over Kashmir in next 20 years ? "

Did any one "foresee any change in status quo over" Soviet Union in 1980s?

Do you know that India is using Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law in Kashmir that the Brits used in 1942 to try to crush "Quit India" movement launched by Gandhi? Did the Brits succeed?

dantes said...

Haq : Did any one "foresee any change in status quo over" Soviet Union in 1980s?

"Quit India" movement launched by Gandhi? Did the Brits succeed?


Unfortunately India is not Soviet on 80's and neither it has a opponent as strong as America of 80's. Neither its opponent has as much disposable income as America of 80's.
And I clearly don't see another Gandhi being born among the stone-pelters of kashmir , because there is a certain level of education needed to become Gandhi and understand his ways.Gandhi's struggle wasn't religion based unlike the stone pelters.
Did you know that Gandhi prayer meetings opened my reciting verses from Quoran followed by Geeta shlokas and prayers.

But Yeah A world-war may tilt the balance much like Britain of 1942 ... But seriously a world-war ?? .. that will be more like freedom of earth from human race .

Anyway it will be interesting to see how it unfolds, I would love to have tracking of it on yearly basis , let say 10 sep every year ? Are you game ?

Riaz Haq said...

dantes: "Anyway it will be interesting to see how it unfolds, I would love to have tracking of it on yearly basis , let say 10 sep every year ? Are you game ? "

No one knows how irrational Indian leadership can be in attempting to hold on a region with totally hostile population by deploying 700,000 troops under Armed Forces Special Powers Act indefinitely.

But any rational person can see it as a losing proposition.

You can not call yourself a democracy while denying fundamental rights to tens of millions of the people you claim as your citizens.

On practical level, long term deployments of troops cause low morale, suicidal tendencies and poor discipline that India is already seeing among its 700,000 troops deployed in Kashmir.

At the same time, a new generation of tech-savvy Kashmiris is stepping up their struggle for "azadi".

All of this leads to only one conclusion: India can only barely hold on Kashmir to high and rising cost to itself.
The only question is how irrational can they be and how long they'll do it.



http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/05/india-is-losing-kashmir/

dantes said...

I work with a few Tech-savy Kashmiris myself , in particular muslims from the valley.
And my observation is, more learned they are, less is their aggression towards India.
Ofcourse, they resent the situation of the valley but aren't prepared to wage jihad against India.
You see there more distractions in the world now then time Gandhi was around.Being tech-savy only distracts you more ;)

Anyway I could be wrong since my sample size is too small for making a extrapolation.

And May be all that you say is correct. But then again its still a "MAY BE".
Being an Engineer you would know there are variables to an equation , which in this case can only be assigned a value with time.

So lets play the time ... I will take that as a YES see you on 10 sep 2017 . Stay put!!

Anonymous said...

"

Did any one "foresee any change in status quo over" Soviet Union in 1980s?

Do you know that India is using Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law in Kashmir that the Brits used in 1942 to try to crush "Quit India" movement launched by Gandhi? Did the Brits succeed?

"

You know total population of Kashmir Valley is 7 million. How much trouble will it take for Indian Army to liquidate all of them 7 million? The winters are approaching and will cut Pakistan off from Indian Administered Kashmir. What will stop indian army to just get rid of these 7 million? I think Kashmir is simply too small to effect a proper resistance to Indian control.