India celebrates Vijay Diwas on December 16 to commemorate its victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh. On this day, Indians pay homage to the brave soldiers of our country. The defining moments in the history of the subcontinent also established the prowess of the Indian Armed Forces including the Army, Air Force and Navy. Vijay Diwas 2021 marks the 51th anniversary celebrations of India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971.
Why is Vijay Diwas celebrated in India ?
After fighting for 13 days, India won the war against Pakistan on December 16, 1971. During the struggle for independence in East Pakistan, the war started on December 3, 1971, and ended 13 days later on December 16 with the unconditional surrender of the Pakistan army.
On this day, the then Major-General in the Pakistan Army, Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, surrendered to the joint forces of Indian Army and Bangladesh’s Mukti Bahini. Niazi, who surrendered with 93,000 Pakistani troops, was the Commander of the Pakistan Eastern Command, and had also signed the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ at Ramna Race Course in Dacca (now Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh).
The ‘Instrument of Surrender’ was signed and accepted by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, the then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of India’s Eastern Command.
After World War II, this was also the biggest-ever military surrender and the iconic picture of Niazi signing the ‘Instrument of Surrender’ tells the story about the bravery of the mighty Indian Army.
In this war, Pakistan suffered the maximum casualty with about 8,000 dead and 25,000 wounded, while India lost 3000 soldiers and 12,000 were injured.
The 1971 war brought Bangladesh on the world map, which was until then East Pakistan. Bangladesh celebrates the day as ‘Bijoy Dibos’ to mark the country’s formal independence from Pakistan.
On this day, India’s Defence Minister and the heads of all three wings of the Indian Armed Forces pay homage to the soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in New Delhi.