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The flag flies high

It is day for pomp, power and patriotism. As nationalistic fervour grips India, a look at never before pictures from the 1971 Indo-Pak war


Theaching: Capt. M P Chaudhary demonstrating driving on the sand 
dunes 

If a picture can say a 1,000 words, imagine what a clutch of pictures can say? These are exclusive photographs of a successful and daring commando operation by the Indian Army against Pakistan forces in the 1971 war accessed by reporter, Parth Satam. They are pictures of the troops before, during and after the operation. 

Posterity: Brigadier (then Capt.) Onkar Singh in beret and sunglasses 
(in the middle) on the outskirts of Chachro after the raid

These same troops were then conferred with the unprecedented honour of marching on the following Republic Day parade of 1972 on the Rajpath mounted on the same combat vehicles used during the battle. 


Triumpph: The captured Ford truck from Virawah in Southern Sindh

No other battalion/regiment in the Indian Army boasts of any such privilege, since troops for R-Day march-pasts are selected only after an unforgiving screening process. Unlike other battles that made up the 1971 war, the 'Chachro Raid' distinguishes itself on a few counts from regular military operations:


Planning: Confirmatory reconnaissance being carried out for a 
suitable route to Chachro by a designated scout 

This is because it was not conducted by regular infantry, but by the 10 Para unit of the elite Parachute Regiment, which fell under the Special Forces category, formed only six years ago in 1965.


Wacjhful: Col (then Capt.) MP Chaudhary second in command of the 
Alpha team manning the medium machine gun and Major (then Lt.) 
Ghanshyam Das at the wheel

It was a clandestine operation where troops entered 80 km inside enemy territory by remaining undetected for the first several hours. No casualty was sustained and every man returned without even a single scratch. 


Strategy: The Alpha team lined up for a final briefing in the Kelnor area

The raid was actually a 'diversionary tactic' that caused a lot of confusion amongst opponents allowing India to fulfill other important objectives. It formed a part of a larger set of operations directed towards gaining military victory on the Western front. 


Brainstrom: Lt. Colonel Bhawani Singh with other officers discussing 
final operational plans

Special Forces are highly trained specialized units of any military tasked with carrying out clandestine actions deep inside enemy turf along with counter terrorism and hostage rescue functions. Best examples of this are the Indian Navy's Marine Commandos (MARCOS) who engaged militants inside the Trident Hotel on 26/11.

About the War
The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases. Lasting just 13 days, it is considered one of the shortest wars in history. During the course of the war, Indian and Pakistani forces clashed on the eastern and western fronts. The war effectively came to an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument of Surrender; on December 16, 1971 following which East Pakistan seceded as the independent state of Bangladesh.

Chachro Highlights
>> 160 men were involved in the operation divided into two groups of 80 each called Alpha and Charlie team. 
>> The operation lasted for a period of 96 hours. 
>> Chachro was a garrison town of the Pakistan Army. 
>> Since it was a surprise attack, opponents were caught off guard and several enemy soldiers reportedly fled their posts.

About the War
The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases. Lasting just 13 days, it is considered one of the shortest wars in history. During the course of the war, Indian and Pakistani forces clashed on the eastern and western fronts. The war effectively came to an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument of Surrender; on December 16, 1971 following which East Pakistan seceded as the independent state of Bangladesh.

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