Druzhba-Dosti: 45th Anniversary of Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, 1971
Indian Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi and foreign minister Sardar Swaran Singh with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev
By Debasis Dash
The humiliating defeat of India in 1962 Sino-India war and the following bonhomie between its archrival Pakistan and the communist eastern neighbor China, India was left to fend herself in the emerging cold war in south Asia.
Despite the United States’ arms embargo on Pakistan and India, it actively supported Pakistan during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The help was part of then US president Richard Nixon and the then secretary of state Henery Kissinger’s “Quiet Diplomacy”.The broad idea was to lend an unofficial diplomatic and military support to Pakistan to halt the rising influence of soviet union in the south and southeast Asia. For Americans, they were under the apprehension of India drifting towards the soviet union’s influence with its affinity for socialist ideology.
To support its south Asian ally the United States sent armed consignments loaded on 3 ships named Sunderbans, Padma, and Kaukhala to East Pakistan.
After weighing the legalities and possibility of imposing a naval blockade in the Bay of Bengal India registered a diplomatic protest with the U.S .Indian PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi toured western countries to explain India’s stand on the aggravating situation and evolving humanitarian crisis in the East Pakistan (currently, Bangladesh).
Snubbed by the Americans, she invoked Indo-Soviet friendshipa result, USSR sent its 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet) under the command of Admiral V. Kruglyakov to checkmate USS Enterprise (7th Fleet) and halt its advancement towards the Bay of Bengal and prevent it from encircling Indian military bases.
Under his quiet diplomacy, Kissinger had previously urged Chinese to make subtle advancements from the North to test India’s military might. But unfortunately, the Chinese failed in their planned misadventure as USSR has threatened to give them a bloody nose from the north.
Finally, at 0743hrs on December 14, Washington got a flash message from its Dacca consulate about the offer of surrender from the Pakistani forces to India.
And, on December 15, at 1631 hrs Instrument of Surrender was signed by Lt Gen. AAK Niazi at Ramna Race Course, Dacca
So it was exactly 45 years back from today India had signed the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty by technically shedding its tag of nonalignment. The treaty was instrumental in creation of Bangladesh and the beginning of Indo-Soviet friendship
An excerpt from the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, 1971
Each High Contracting Party undertakes to abstain from providing any assistance to any third country that engages in armed conflict with the other Party. In the event of either being subjected to an attack or a threat thereof, the High Contracting Parties shall immediately enter into mutual consultations in order to remove such threat and to take appropriate effective measures to ensure peace and the security of their countries”