Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated Swarnim Vijay Parv, an event commemorating the valour & professionalism of the Armed Forces and their contribution to the liberation of Bangladesh in the Indo-Pak 1971 war, at India Gate Lawns in New Delhi on December 12, 2021. The event marks the culmination of year-long celebrations of 50 years of India’s victory in the war. Shri Rajnath Singh began his address by paying rich tributes to the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat who passed away in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 08, 2021. “In the untimely death of General Rawat, India has lost a brave soldier, an able advisor and a lively person. He was looking forward to taking part in the Swarnim Vijay Parv,” he said.
The Raksha Mantri termed ‘Swarnim Vijay Parv’ as a festival which commemorates the glorious victory of the Indian Armed Forces in the 1971 war, which changed the history and geography of South Asia. He paid tributes to the brave Indian soldiers, sailors & air warriors and their families who ensured the victory in the 1971 war, saying that the country will always be indebted to their sacrifice. “This festival is a testament to the fact that the memories of 1971 are still fresh in the heart of every Indian. At the same time, it is a symbol of the zeal, passion and valour our forces displayed during the 1971 war. It inspires us to keep moving forward on the path of Nation’s progress with same zeal and passion,” he added.
Shri Rajnath Singh described the 1971 war victory as an epitome of the spirit of humanity & universal brotherhood of Indians who live in a country, which considers the whole earth as its family and has always stood for truth & justice. He stated that the victory in the 1971 war was the triumph of humanity over inhumanity, virtue over misconduct and justice over injustice. He cited the statement by Martin Luther King Jr. in a famous New York speech, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. Shri Rajnath Singh said, the atrocities on the people of then East Pakistan was a threat to the entire humanity and it was India’s responsibility to liberate them of that injustice and exploitation.
Shri Rajnath Singh remembered the determination, coordination and valour of the Indian Armed Forces during the war. “Our Armed Forces supported ‘Muktivahini’, helped lakhs of refugees and prevented any kind of aggression from western & northern sector. They ensured that the credibility of India’s commitment towards peace, justice and humanity in the world community is maintained,” he added.
The Raksha Mantri said, the 1971 war is a classic example of India’s morals and democratic traditions. “It will be rarely seen in history that after defeating another country in a war, a country does not impose its dominance, but hands over power to its political representative. India did this, because it is a part of our culture. India has never invaded any country, nor has it ever captured an inch of land of any other country,” he said. Shri Rajnath Singh recalled India’s contribution in the establishment of democracy in Bangladesh and appreciated the fact that it has progressed rapidly on the path of development in the last 50 years, which is an inspiration for the world.
Shri Rajnath Singh added that India has a history of fighting wars against barbarism, inhumanity and irresponsible powers – from the era of Ramayana, Mahabharata to wars of 1857, 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Kargil war. He recalled that most of the military operations in India’s history have been named ‘Operation Vijay’ – from recapturing of Jhangar by Brigadier Usman in 1948 and liberation of Goa, Daman & Diu in 1961 to the glorious victory in 1999 Kargil war which is celebrated as ‘Kargil Vijay Divas’. He said, the Swarnim Vijay Parv is not just about any special operation, but a celebration of the spirit of victory of the Armed Forces and the country as a whole.
The Raksha Mantri termed the 1971 war as among the most decisive wars in the world after the two World Wars in the 20th century. “This war tells us that the partition of India on the basis of religion was a historic mistake. Pakistan was born in the name of one religion but it could not remain one. After the defeat of 1971, it is continuously fighting a proxy war. Pakistan wants to disrupt peace in India by promoting terrorism and other anti-India activities. The Indian forces had foiled their plans in 1971 and work to eliminate terrorism from its root is in underway. We have won in a direct war and the victory will be ours in indirect war as well,” he added.
Shri Rajnath Singh added “the anti-India feeling in Pakistan can be seen from the fact that they name their missiles after invaders who attacked India – Ghori, Ghaznavi, Abdali, whereas India’s missiles are named Akash, Prithvi, Agni. Now one of our missiles has also been named Sant”. He congratulated Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for the successful flight test of indigenously designed and developed helicopter-launched Stand-off Anti-tank (SANT) Missile from Pokhran ranges on December 11, 2021.
The Raksha Mantri described the 1971 war as a shining example of jointness and integration among the three Services, underlining the importance of planning, training and fighting together. He said, the Government is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen the Armed Forces. “The creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and Department of Military Affairs are some of the reforms that will cater to the future needs of the Armed Forces. From procurement to production, all efforts are being made to make the forces more capable, efficient and self-reliant. Private sector participation is being promoted in defence research, development and manufacturing. Through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, efforts are being made to promote self-reliance in the defence sector. Our aim is to keep our Armed Forces ready for any eventuality,” he said. Recalling the liberation of Goa in 1961, the Raksha Mantri said, “the struggle was a witness to the fact that the more someone tries to divide us, the more united we become and face our enemies.”
Video messages by Bangladesh Minister for Liberation War Affairs Shri Mozammel Haque and Mukti Jodhas were showcased during the event. It was followed by the unveiling of Wall of Fame and a drive through to the major weapons and equipment used during the 1971 war.
Cultural events such as Kalaripayattu, Gatka and Khukri dance performances in addition to Light and Sound show, dog show, hot air ballooning have been planned over the span of the next two days. War movies and a grand battle exhibition depicting major operations on the Eastern and Western Front of 1971 war will also be displayed. Four of the most spectacular operations will be reconstructed as battle exhibitions displaying dioramas and models of PT -76 tanks mounted with cannons capturing Pakistani positions.
The event will also mark the culmination of the year-long journey of the Victory Flame, the Swarnim Vijay Mashal which, having traversed the length and breadth of the country and collected soil samples from the villages of the gallant soldiers of the war, will converge in New Delhi on December 16, 2021 in a grand ceremony.
Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt, Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane; Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar; Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Shri B Anand, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Shri Sanjiv Mittal; other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence; National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets and general public were present during the inauguration of the event.