Fifty years after the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, it is time to recollect the great military campaigns and reflect on the lessons and changes that have helped make India a stronger power. The two-front 13-day war began with the anticipated Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pre-emptive strike on December 3, 1971. Code-named “Operation Chengiz Khan”, the PAF targeted 11 Indian Air Force (IAF) airbases and other installations. This also paved the way for India’s formal entry into the war for East Pakistan’s Independence, and ultimately, creation of Bangladesh. The war ended with surrender of Pakistan’s Eastern Command in Dhaka on December 16, 1971 and over 93,000 Pakistani personnel were taken prisoner. The IAF was engaged in every facet of air operations, and air power was indeed a significant contributor to the historic victory. The 1971 air war was one among the last in which classic close combat took place between two major Air Forces. The air war saw clear air superiority being established against a major Air Force. The war ended with the birth of a nation. It was also the largest surrender of a force after the Second World War. The book records the diverse aspects of the air operations during the war in correct perspective and explores the lessons highlighting some outstanding examples of jointmanship. The book revisits India’s national strategy during that period, and analyses how the 1971 War altered Pakistan’s strategic posture that we see today.
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