Navy Day in India is celebrated to commemorate the courageous attack on the Karachi harbour during the Indo-Pakistan war which happened on 4 December 1971 by the Indian Naval Missile boats as well as to reverence all the martyrs of that war. Hence Navy Day in India is observed on 4 December every year to celebrate the achievements and role of the naval force to the country and also work towards securing the country’s marine borders and bolstering relationships with other countries through humanitarian missions, calamity relief and joint exercises.
The Indian Navy is the marine branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. The Maratha Emperor, Chhatarpati Shivaji Bhosle of the 17th century is considered as “Father of the Indian Navy”.
It all began when Pakistan launched pre-emptive airstrikes against India’s air bases on 3 December 1971. However, Pakistan failed to neutralise India’s air force, leading to India’s entry into the Bangladesh War.As Indian Air Force began bombing Pakistani bases, the Western Naval Command decided to attack Karachi – Pakistan’s economic hub and the headquarters of its navy. To incur minimal losses but inflict maximum damage on ships, it was decided that the Indian fleet will attack the harbour at night.
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This decision also stemmed from information that Pakistani aircrafts lacked night bombing capabilities. A fleet, consisting of three Vidyut class missile boats – led by Commander BB Yadav, two Arnala class anti-submarine corvettes and a fleet tanker, left for Karachi on 4 December 1971. According to a report, the missile boats were armed with four SS-N-2B Styx surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 40 nautical miles (about 75 kilometres).
Pakistani military During the war, Indian and simultaneously clashed on the eastern and western fronts; the war ended after the Eastern Command of the Pakistan military signed the Instrument of Surrender on 16 December 1971 in Dhaka, marking the formation of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh.
Officially, East Pakistan had earlier called for its secession from the unity of Pakistan on 26 March 1971. Approximately 90,000 to 93,000 Pakistani servicemen were taken prisoner by the Indian Army, which included 79,676 to 81,000 uniformed personnel of the Pakistan Armed Forces, including some Bengali soldiers who had remained loyal to Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that “India is grateful to the Navy”. “Navy Day greetings to all valorous personnel of the Indian Navy and their families. India is grateful to our Navy for protecting the nation and the commendable role the Navy plays during disaster relief,” he wrote.Union Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “I salute our Navy personnel for the impregnable spirit, devotion with which they serve & protect our Motherland.”