Issue Book Excerpt: Indian Army After Independence | Date : 16 Dec , 2012
The Indian cabinet met on 28 April 1971. General Manekshaw was told to attend the meeting as he was Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Without much ado, he was told to take charge of the situation. When he asked what was actually required, he was told: “Go into East Pakistan”. He pointed out that this would mean war. ‘We don’t mind it,’ was the reply.1
Till the middle of April the Army had not even been told of the BSF backed Mukti Bahini operations. Manekshaw now explained that war was not something one started casually. No plans had yet been made and a good deal of preparation was necessary. Even the time was not opportune. A war with Pakistan now would mean fighting on two fronts – in Bengal and in Punjab and possibly on a third front, if the Chinese decided to intervene. This was harvest-time in Punjab and if the troops moved forward at this juncture, it would not be possible to reap the harvest. This would mean famine in the land. Also, the Himalayan passes would soon open and the Chinese might give an ultimatum, as they did in 1965. That would make it impossible for him to pull out any troops facing the Chinese for operations in East Pakistan.