Day 22 – Q.3 How did the 1971 Indo-Pak war change the political landscape of South Asia? What are its current day implications? Discuss. 

  • IASbaba
  • December 19, 2022
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GS 1, Indian History & Post-Independence, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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How did the 1971 Indo-Pak war change the political landscape of South Asia? What are its current day implications? Discuss. 

1971 के भारत-पाक युद्ध ने दक्षिण एशिया के राजनीतिक परिदृश्य को कैसे बदल दिया? इसके वर्तमान दिन के निहितार्थ क्या हैं? चर्चा करें।

Approach –

In this question candidates need to write about how did Indo pak war changed the political landscape of south Asia and in second part of answer write about its current day implications.

Introduction –

1971 war was fought for independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Indian armed forces supported Bangladesh in its liberation war. Pakistan had to suffer huge defeat and about 93000 Pakistani troops surrendered to Indian armed forces.

Body –

Bangladesh Liberation war changed the political landscape of South Asia in following ways,

  • Diminishing the Two-front War Threat: The East Pakistan uprising provided India with the opportunity to break up Pakistan and eliminate the threat of a two-front war in any future confrontation.
  • Although the eastern front remained largely inactive in 1965, it tied down substantial military resources that could have been deployed to greater effect in the western theatre.
  • Preventing Side-Lining of Pro-India Awami League: India recognised that a drawn-out civil war in East Pakistan would radicalise the Bengali population.
  • This could lead to the side-lining of the pro-India Awami League and shift the leadership of the movement to left-wing pro-China parties such as the Bhashani-led National Awami Party and the Communist Party.
  • Negating Internal Security Threat: The Guerrilla warfare, inspired by Maoist ideology, was the major form of resistance against the Pakistani military.
  • If India wouldn’t have intervened in the Bangladesh Liberation War 197, this could have been detrimental for India’s internal security interests, especially in the context of the Naxalite movement which was then raging in eastern India.
  • Negating The Communal Threat: By July-August 1971, 90% of the refugees were Hindus concentrated in the border districts of West Bengal with large Muslim populations.
  • Consequently, there was danger of serious communal strife if India did not act quickly to ensure their return.
  • Departure from Non-Alignment: At the diplomatic level, India did not act entirely alone. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s carefully crafted diplomatic dispatches to world leaders had helped create a groundswell of support for the persecuted Bengalis of East Pakistan.
  • The signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty in August 1971 came as a shot-in-the-arm for India, encouraging it to stay the course.
  • The victory defined India’s much broader role in foreign politics.
  • Many countries in the world, including the United States, realised that the balance of power had shifted to India in South Asia.
  • This time all the South Asian member countries should come front to maintain an amicable and good relation that is the basic need for peace and development of this region. further other nations should also cooperate because the South Asian Region has a lot of potential of economic development.

How did the Indo Pak War 1971 shape today’s India-Bangladesh relations-

  • The Indo-Pak war of 1971 liberated Bangladesh and established a friendly neighbourhood on the eastern front for India.
  • Bangladesh is India’s largest trading partner in South Asia and one of the fastest-growing economies.
  • Indian firms have huge investment opportunities in the country due to their growth potential. Bangladesh is crucial for India’s connectivity and peace in the north-eastern states.
  • India had recently inaugurated the new trade corridor, Maitri Setu Bridge from Sabroom in India to Ramgargh in Bangladesh on the Feni river in Tripura-Bangladesh border.
  • Bangabandhu Mujibur Rahman was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize 2021.
  • Bangladesh was a special invitee to India’s 75th independence day celebrations and President Kovind is part of Victory day celebrations in Bangladesh.
  • Bangladesh marked 50 years of liberation war victory over Pakistan on 16th December 2021.
  • The nation celebrated victory in the 1971 war for independence by hosting a military parade with India’s president as a guest of honour.
  • Bangladesh has a special place in India’s neighbourhood first policy and the relation is ever more crucial in the current geopolitical scenario as well.

Way Forward :-

  • India needs to look at more ways to deepen its ties with Bangladesh, especially keeping in mind the shifting nature of geopolitics and geoeconomics in South Asia.
  • India and Bangladesh have more or less agreed on most issues and this stability must be maintained.
  • India needs to find a fine balance in respecting Bangladesh’s economic growth while maintaining its economic progress.

Conclusion –

The ultimate accolade for India’s role in creating a new nation is that Bangladesh is today a relatively prosperous country, having made steady progress from the category of a Least Developed Country to a developing country.The creation of Bangladesh — from the ashes of East Pakistan — is presumably India’s finest foreign policy triumph till date.

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