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1971 India-Pakistan War: How Indian Navy Missile Boats Destroyed Vessels in Karachi

File photo of Indian flag. (Reuters)

File photo of Indian flag. (Reuters)

The Operation Trident conducted by the Indian Navy caused a blow to Pakistan and eventually resulted in India winning the 1971 war.

Every year on December 16, India marks Vijay Diwas to celebrate the country’s victory over Pakistan in the Indo-Pak War 1971. The war happened as a result of the freedom struggle of East Pakistan known as the Bangladesh Liberation War.

The role of the Indian Navy was critical in India’s war with Pakistan in 1971. The Operation Trident conducted by the Indian Navy caused a blow to Pakistan and eventually resulted in India winning the 1971 war. The operation was launched on Pakistan’s Karachi and inflicted heavy damages on Pakistan’s vessels and other facilities.

A group of Vidyut class missile boats departed from Mumbai. They included INS Veer, INS Nirghat and INS Nipat. The boats had four Soviet made SS-N-2B Styx surface-to-surface missiles each. They had a range of 40 nautical miles.

The Karachi Strike Group included INS Kiltan and INS Katchall, two Arnala-class anti-submarine corvettes. The group had a fleet tanker too, which was known by the name INS Poshak. This entire group was led by the commanding officer of the 25th Missile Boat Squadron, Commander Babru Bhan Yadav.

The group sailed towards Karachi harbour and the attack was carried out by the Indian Navy between dusk to dawn because Pakistani aircraft at that time lacked capabilities to attack in the night. Targets like a destroyer vessel PNS Khaibar, PNS Shah Jehan, and a merchant vessel carrying ammunition named Venus Challenger were identified at Karachi harbour. The missile boats then attacked these targets with their Styx missiles and destroyed the enemy vessels.

While INS Nipat attacked Venus Challenger and PNS Shah Jehan, INS Nirghat engaged PNS Khaibar. PNS Muhafiz was attacked by INS Veer. After this, INS Nipat then targeted Kemari oil storage tanks. Within 90 minutes, the group had destroyed its targets, causing heavy loss to the Pakistani Navy which proved to be crucial in India’s overall victory in the in 1971 war.

Commander Yadav who led Operation Trident was awarded with Mahavir Chakra, the second-highest military award in India. All the commanders on the three missile boats were awarded Vir Chakra for their outstanding execution of the operation.

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