A Hawsea Hawk fighter taking off from INS Vikrant aircraft carrier in the 1971 war

CHANDIGARH: Recounting the sequence of events which led to the 1971 war and developments after Operation Dwarka of the Pakistan Navy in 1965, former chief of naval staff Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd), on Sunday, said Operation Trident and Python made the country realize the key role of the Indian Navy in the country's defence.

On 1965, Admiral Prakash said the Indian Navy felt humiliated as questions on what the Navy was doing and how Pakistan could launch an attack were raised in Parliament.

"When the operation started, the Naval headquarters received a note from the bureaucracy saying that the government has ordered that the Navy should restrict the conflict within 200 miles of Bombay (Mumbai) and not go north. Seeing little action on the part of the Indian Navy, the Pakistan navy positioned a submarine outside the Bombay harbour. On the night of September 6 and 7, they sent a squadron of warships, which bombarded the port of Dwarka. It is a very small port without naval installations or assets of significance but Pakistanis bombarded it at midnight and claimed a great victory," said Admiral Prakash. 

Talking on the subject, "Operations Trident and Python: The Karachi raids, December 1971," at the Military Literature Festival on Sunday, he said partly as a result of 1965, the Navy undertook major reorganisation of its structure. He also recounted how the Navy procured eight missile boats from Russia, which had first been offered to Pakistan and refused.

"After 1962, Indian armed forces were looking for modern equipment and India sent delegations to the western countries, including USA, UK and France. What they offered was old and obsolete equipment, which we did not want. Out of frustration, we sent a delegation to the erstwhile USSR and the Russians were willing to offer us their frontline equipment. We ordered submarines, landing ships and the best part, the eight missile boats. They told us that the boats had been offered to Pakistan but they refused them and we got the missiles," he said.