Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India, initiating the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, also known as the Bangladesh Liberation War, was a conflict between India and Pakistan that took place in December 1971. The primary cause of the war was the political and economic discrimination faced by the Bengali-speaking population in East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) by the central government in West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan).
East and West Pakistan were geographically separated by around 1,600 kilometers, and there were significant cultural, linguistic, and economic differences between the two regions.
The central government in West Pakistan was accused of exploiting East Pakistan economically and politically, leading to growing discontent and demands for autonomy in the East.
Language Movement and Six-Point Movement:
The Language Movement of 1952 in East Pakistan marked a turning point, as it advocated for the recognition of Bengali as an official language.
The Six-Point Movement of 1966, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, called for greater autonomy for East Pakistan based on six specific points, including control over their economy and military.
1970 General Elections:
The 1970 general elections in Pakistan resulted in a clear victory for Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League, which won a majority of seats, primarily in East Pakistan.
The central government’s reluctance to transfer power to the Awami League further escalated tensions.
As negotiations between East and West Pakistan faltered, the Pakistani military launched Operation Searchlight on March 25, 1971, to suppress political dissent and the independence movement in East Pakistan.
The operation resulted in widespread atrocities, including mass killings and displacement.
The humanitarian crisis in East Pakistan led to an influx of refugees into India, creating a severe humanitarian challenge.
As the situation deteriorated, India actively supported the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army), composed of Bengali nationalists and military defectors, who were fighting against the Pakistani military.
Declaration of Independence:
On December 16, 1971, the Mukti Bahini, with the support of the Indian military, achieved a decisive victory, leading to the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh.
The Instrument of Surrender was signed by the Pakistani military, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh.
The international community witnessed the events in South Asia with concern, and there were varying degrees of support for both sides.
The United States and China supported Pakistan, while the Soviet Union supported India.