Vijay Divas: History, significance and the glory

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 16, 2021, 06:03 PM(IST)

The iconic image showing Pakistan's Major General Niazi (right) signing 'instrument of surrender'. India's Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora looks on Photograph:( Others )

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Vijay Divas or Victory day is written in golden letters in India and Bangladesh's history

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind is in Dhaka on the occasion of 50th Vijay Divas or Victory Day. The day represents glory for India and Bangladesh. It is a golden chapter for Indian Army and Bangladesh's Mukti Bahini.

What is Vijay Divas?

Vijay Divas or Victory Day represents victory of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini against Pakistani forces that led to the independence of Bangladesh. On December 16, 1971, Indian Army defeated Pakistan, carving out a new nation of Bangladesh. The 1971 war is a matter of pride for India as 93,000 Pakistani troops stationed in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) surrendered before Indian Army.

When did war leading to Vijay Divas start?

The 1971 war started on December 3, 1971. It was a 13-day war. It ended on December 16, 1971. At the end of the war, Pakistani army stationed in Bangladesh surrendered unconditionally. During 1971 war, Pakistan forces suffered 8,000 casualties. 25,000 of their soldiers were wounded.

On Indian side, 3000 soldiers died and 12,000 were wounded.

What happened on Vijay Divas in 1971?

The day has been chronicled as biggest military surrender after Second World War. Major-General  Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi was leading Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. He had 93,000 troops under his command at the time of surrender. It is often mentioned with surprise how a Pakistani general leading such a large force could surrender unconditionally. The day, therefore, lives in infamy for Pakistani army.

On December 16, 1971, Niazi signed the 'instrument of surrender' signifying Pakistan's surrender officially. The document was signed and accepted by India's Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, who was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of India’s Eastern Command.

The moment has been immortalised in an iconic photo. The instrument of surrender was signed in Ramna Race Course in Dacca (Now called Dhaka).

What were the causes of 1971 war?

1971 war was a crushing blow to Pakistan and its military. However, Pakistani military and Pakistani policies were responsible for spread of anti-Pakistan sentiment in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is called Bangabandhu the father of the nation of Bangladesh, clinched electoral victory for his party in 1970.

However, instead of letting the victors rule, Pakistan military used force to sway the outcome.

This resulted in a massive exodus of people from Bangladesh to India. This forced India to intervene.

On December 3, 1971, Pakistani fighter planes launched a pre-emptive strike on Indian Air Force stations. The war had begun. A day later, India decided to support Bangladeshi nationalist groups, notably Mukti Bahini and Indian forces launched Operation Trident which ended in Indian victory.

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