1970 India Invades Pakistan- Bangladesh Created
In December 1970, East Pakistan's Awami League won the parliamentary elections demanding internal autonomy. The Pakistani government, led by Ali Bhutto, violently suppressed the Awami League, leading to a refugee crisis. Fleeing to India, the Awami leadership declared independence, creating Bangladesh. India supported this move, prompting a failed Pakistani attack on Indian air bases. India retaliated with a full-scale attack, leading to the Pakistani army's defeat and the subsequent recognition of Bangladesh as a separate state.
In the final month of the tumultuous year of 1970, a pivotal election was held in Pakistan. This election would not only shape the political landscape of the region but would also precipitate a bloody conflict with far-reaching ramifications. East Pakistan, bristling under what they perceived as long-standing economic and political discrimination, saw the Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, secure a staggering 160 out of 162 seats in the Parliament. This represented an overwhelming mandate for change, a forceful rejection of the status quo, and a clarion call for enhanced autonomy.
The electoral victory of the Awami League was deeply rooted in its demand for complete internal autonomy for East Pakistan. This call for greater regional self-governance was a reflection of the aspirations of millions of people in East Pakistan, who felt marginalized by the policies enacted by the central government in Islamabad. However, this demand was met with stark opposition from the West Pakistan political establishment, notably from the influential leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who flatly refused to acknowledge these demands.
The Pakistani government's response was both swift and brutal. Instead of engaging in a dialogue with the political representatives of East Pakistan, they resorted to violence to suppress the Awami League and its supporters. It was a dark period in the history of the nation, as hundreds of thousands of innocent lives were lost in the brutal crackdown. Fear and chaos ensued as the Awami leadership and millions of refugees sought sanctuary in neighboring India, escaping the escalating violence and political instability in their homeland.
Amidst this atmosphere of pervasive fear and unprecedented upheaval, the Awami League declared the creation of an independent state, Bangladesh, from their sanctuary in India. The Indian government, empathizing with the plight of the refugees and the call for self-determination, extended full support to this declaration. Not only did they provide refuge to the millions fleeing the violence, but they also extended significant assistance in equipping a guerrilla army to counter the Pakistani forces.
This act of support from India provoked a military response from Pakistan. In a desperate attempt to reassert control over the situation, they launched a surprise attack on several Indian air bases. However, this attack failed to achieve its strategic objectives and instead led to India launching a full-scale military offensive against East Pakistan.
The Indian military responded with an overwhelming show of force, effectively routing the Pakistani army in East Pakistan. The military debacle left Pakistan with no choice but to accept the bitter reality of a separate state being carved out of its former Eastern province. After a devastating war and a massive humanitarian crisis, the state of Bangladesh emerged as a separate, sovereign entity. This momentous event drastically altered the geopolitical landscape of South Asia and marked the beginning of a new chapter in the region's complex history.