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Navy Day celebrations – 8th September

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Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of partition of British India. The plan of 3 June 1947stipulated the scheme of dividing the Sub-continent into the dominions of Pakistan and India respectively by 15 August 1947. The princely states could choose to join either one of the dominions on the basis of geographical continuity or through the consensus of their populace.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir should have joined Pakistan because the Valley had 93% Muslims. India sent its troops to Kashmir and occupied in October 1947. Kashmir is considered as ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan because all major rivers originate from there. The first war was fought in 1947/48 between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
India approached the United Nations to intervene and the UN recommended holding a plebiscite to settle the issue of whether the state would join India or Pakistan. The plebiscite has not taken even after demand of the resident of Kashmir and Pakistan.Instead, India has revoked Articles 370 and 35A on 5 August 2019. It has abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The Security Council in mid-August 2019 has announced that India and Pakistan should both stop from any unilateral action over Kashmir. This has clearly negated the Indian stance that revoking the Articles 370 and 35A is their internal matter. Since then, India has imposed lockdown in Kashmir and continuously committing atrocities on the hapless residents. Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir is a major dispute which is yet to be resolved between India and Pakistan. It is considered main hurdle for normalizing the relations. Due to this border skirmishes take place on the Line of Control(LoC) frequently.
In early January 1965, dispute of Rann of Kutch emerged. According to Abdul Sattar’s book, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy (p102-105), India contested 3,500 miles’ area north of 24 degrees’ parallel. Fighting flared up in April. However, British government persuaded both sides to agree to ceasefire which took place on 1 May 1965. The issue was amicably resolved by a Tribunal. Keeping this in view, Pakistan Navy (PN) was ready for any more eventuality.
The PN units remained extra alert and went to sea frequently. In the meantime, there was uprising of freedom struggle in the Indian occupied Kashmir in August 1965. India launched an offensive on the international borders on 6 September with the objective to capture Lahore. Hence all-out war commenced, India as an aggressor. Pakistan ArmedForces gave befitting response.
According to the book, “Story of the Pakistan Navy, 1947 to 1972” (p216), the tasks assigned to PN were: 1) Sea word defense of Pakistan;2) Keepsea lines of communication open;3) Interdiction of shipping;4) Thwart amphibious landing; 5) Assist army in the riverine operations in former East Pakistan. According to Jane’s fighting Ships of 1965-66, PN had a cruiser, a submarine and 6 destroyers(DDs)/frigates (FFs), whereas India had an aircraft-carrier, two heavy cruisers, and 19 DDs/FFs. Indian Navy (IN) had considerable numerical superiority.However, Pakistan was the first country of South Asia which acquired a conventional submarine Ghazi from USA in 1964.It played a major role in the war. TheCommanding Officer during war was Commander Karamat Rehman Niazi, who later became CNS and Executive Officer Lt Cdr Ahmed Tasnim, who retired as Vice Admiral.
The NHQ received a message about starting of hostilities by India at 0630 on 6 September. The Task Force comprising Cruiser Babur and six destroys and frigates left the harbor by 0800 the same day and reached to their assigned patrol stations.Naval control of shipping organization was activated to effectively control merchant ships. An embargo was declared on all merchant ships carrying war like stores to India.
The river routes used by Indian steamers transiting through former East Pakistan were sealed. Orders were issued to seize all such vessels and their cargo. All these actions were taken promptly in order to inflict severe losses to the enemy in terms of valuable cargo, ships and river craft.
PN Submarine Ghazi was deployed off Bombay area to sink heavy units of IN that is Aircraft-Carrier Vikrant and two heavy cruisers, Delhi and Mysore. She sailed on 2 September and was in her patrol area off Bombay on 5 September. This demonstrates good planning and foresight of PN higher command. Vikrant and Delhi were refitting in Bombay. Mysore was operational in Cochin harbor. It was assessed that Mysore will move north towards Bombay but it never left Cochin area.
In the afternoon of 7 September orders were issued to the Task Force to carry out bombardment of Dwarka from a distance, as close as5.5 nautical miles with the objectives: 1)to draw heavy enemy units out of Bombay for Ghazi to attack; 2)to destroy radar installations at Dwarka;3)to Lower Indian morale;4)to divert Indian air effort away from northern area close to Karachi.The city of Dwarka was completely blacked out. Bombardment was started about 30 minutes past midnight 7/8 September and completed in five minutes. Each ship fired about 50 rounds. The Task Group safely arrived on its patrol station at 0630 on 8 September after successfully completing the mission.
The Indian Navy youngster lot even today ask their elders about this successful bombardment by a Navy much smaller in size than IN. The 8th September is celebrated as Navy Day to pay tribute to all those who planned and participated in the naval operations of 1965 war. IN ships did not come out even after bombardment therefore, Ghazi was assigned patrol off the Indian Kutch coast. On 22 September she managed to get an IN frigate and carried out attack with torpedoes at 1911. However, torpedoes did not explode.
The Commanding Officer and Second in Command got gallantry awards of Sitara-e-Jurrat (SJ). Hardly any movement of IN units was observed in the North Arabian Sea and in the Bay of Bengal during the entire 16 days of 1965 war. The PN had achieved Sea Control that is, establishment of naval superiority in areas where operations were intended to be conducted. That too without any loss of men and material.
The PN dominated the IN which was about 5 times more in number, by her superior training, planning, foresight, and courageous execution of operations. The Pakistan Army fought the battle at every front with courage and good planning. The Indian Army ambition after surprised attack on 6 Septemberto reach Lahore Gymkhana could not be achieved. Infact, Indian Army suffered heavy losses.
Major Shabbir Sharif got the highest award of Nishan-e-Haider while defending the motherland. The PAF achieved air superiority in the first few days of war. Squadron Leader M.M. Alamshot 5 Indian Hunters while flying Sabre in one sortie and made a world record. He got gallantry award Sitara-e-Jurrat.
According to book, “History of Pakistan Air Force” (p338), it was very unique sortie of PAF C-130 inwhich Air Marshal Noor Khan, Commander-in-Chief, flew over the Indian territorya few days before the commencement of war to assess himself the practicability of certain decisions which were required to be taken at the spot. Infact, 1965 war was a complete military success.We should pray for all those who exhibited acts of bravery, courage and laid down their lives for the defense of the motherland.