All of us have nearly grown up hearing valiant tales of our Indian Army. The brave sons of our soil have fought horrifying wars, carried out near-impossible counter-insurgency/terrorist operations, have lost lives—only to bounce back and hit hard with more tenacity. All of this only so that we can lead a happy life with our loved ones, so that we go to bed and sleep peacefully every night! And it doesn’t matter if you have heard of their heroic tales before, these stories need to heard, cherished and reheard again. In the wake of our 67th Republic day , let’s talk about some of the fiercest operations carried out by IAF.
1) Operation Polo (September, 1948)
Hyderabad, as we know of it today, is a part of India. Back then in the past, it wasn’t so! In 1947, when the British left India, they gave the princely states the option to join either India or Pakistan. The idea of Hyderabad as an independent state aided by Pakistan did not go down well with our government, so the plans to invade the state, overthrow its Nizam and annex Hyderabad into Indian union stemmed from there. Thus began the operation that was given the code name Operation Polo and it lasted for five days ending in September 18, 1948. A state of emergency was declared when 36,000 Indian troops entered Hyderabad. Our troops displayed such immense bravado that an estimated 32 were killed and 97 injured on our side whereas 490 killed and 122 wounded from Hyderabad.
2) Operation Cactus (November, 1988)
© Defence Forum India
© Defence Forum India
If we are to give an example of the expertness and agility of our Indian Military, it has got to be the operation that was carried in Maldives by the forces in 1988. A coup d’état by the rebels from Maldives backed by some 80 members of People’s liberation Organization Of Tamil Elam, a Tamil Militant organization in Sri Lanka, plotted to overthrow the government, an attempt that was thwarted by the IAF. Abdul Gayoom, the then President requested military assistance from India. In response, within 12 hours, was sent 1600 paratroopers led by Brigadier Farooq Bulsara who quickly seized control and rescued President Gayoom. The mercenaries who were outclassed by the paratroopers tried to flee in a captured freighter to Sri Lanka but were intercepted by the Indian navy planes and frigates.
3) Operation Meghdoot (April, 1984)
Following the unclear demarcation of the Siachen Glacier territory as per the Shimla Agreement of 1972, both the countries—India and Pakistan—had their own interpretation of their claims over this disputed land. Although both the countries allowed mountaineering expedition from their sides, Pakistan, in 1984, decided to stake their claims with military deployment in the area—a move which was countered by the India with the launch of Operation Meghdoot. It was one of the fiercest operations carried out by our military, the resultant being that India has now gained full control of the entire Siachen Glacier. It was the first assault to be successfully launched in the world’s highest ever battlefield. Pakistan launched an all out assault, first in 1987, and once again in 1989 to capture the ridge and passes held by India—both times they failed miserably!
4) Operation Black Tornado (November 2008)
Members of Lakshar-e-Taiba attacked the Maximum City with 12 coordinating shootings and bombings at prominent places in South Mumbai in devastating terror attacks, widely known as the 26/11. But, well planned set of commandos of NGS and MARCOS swung into action, stormed into Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotel as well as Nariman House and tacked the terrorists head on and rescued several hostages. Operation Black Tornado was the name given by the commandos. Amongst profound barrage of gunfire and resorting to firing in complete blackness, the commandos fought viciously and managed to save 9 hostages from the Nariman House, and 300 and 250 hostages from Taj and Oberoi Hotels, respectively. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajendra Singh Bisht paid the ultimate sacrifice and were martyred in the process.
5) Operation Vijay (May, 1999)
During the Kargil War, The Indian Army began Operation Vijay in the peak summer of 1999 to flush out the Pakistani intruders who had infiltrated India’s border outposts along the LOC as well as the mountain ranges sitting along the Srinagar-Leh highway around the town of Kargil. India positioned five infantory divisions, five independent brigades, 44 battalions of paramilitary troops and deployed 60 frontline aircrafts. This is one of the most treacherous episodes of military history of independent India, where although we conquered the war, we had to sacrifice many brave sons of our lands including Vikram Batra, Anuj Nayyar and Manoj Kumar Pandey.
6) Operation Parakram (December, 2001)
Operation Parakram, also known as the India Pakistan Standoff 2001-02, was a result of the conspired terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 by two Pakistan-based terror groups fighting Indian administered Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. A time when India and Pakistan were almost on the brink of a nuclear war— the closest any two states had come to a nuclear exchange since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. India claimed that these organizations operated with the support and knowledge of Pakistan’s ISI. It was a seven-month long operation where millions of soldiers were mobilised by both. It was also one of the last India-Pakistan conflicts that had led to such a large-scale operation.
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