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When Karan Thapar tried to undermine India’s win in 1971: Here is what Sam Manekshaw said in the interview

Instead of crediting the Indian army for standing up to Pakistan's army valiantly, the veteran writer suggests that India succeeded because Pakistan was weak and inept.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Bangladeshi Liberation War, a snippet from an old interview of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with Karan Thapar has gone viral on the internet in which the journalist is heard undermining India’s heroic triumph in the 1971 India-Pakistan war that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan.

The snippet which was earlier shared by Twitter user @tequieremos on December 16, 2020, is once again doing the rounds, as the nation is commemorating 50 years of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war and the formation of Bangladesh.

At around 15 minutes into the interview on BBC’s Face-to-Face in the year 1999, Karan Tapar asked Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw whether India won because the Pakistan army proved to be incompetent in the 1971 war? Instead of crediting the Indian army for standing up to Pakistan’s army valiantly, the veteran writer suggests that India succeeded because Pakistan was weak and inept.

“To what extent did you win because the Pakistani military leadership proved to be incompetent, for instance, I gathered they had no fallback strategy,” asked Karan Thapar.

Vehemently objecting to the journalist’s inferences, the former CAOS is heard saying: “No it’s not true. The Pakistani army in East Pakistan fought very gallantly but they had no chance. They were a thousand miles from their base. I had eight or nine months to make my preparations. I had got a superiority of almost fifteen to one. They just had no chance.”

It may be recalled how last year another clip from 2002 had gone viral in which Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, one of India’s greatest war heroes, had narrated how the Pakistani Prisoner of Wars of the 1971 India-Pakistan war had hailed the professionalism of the Indian Army following Indian victory in the war that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan.

The Retired General said that a Pakistani staffer revealed how the Indian general had saved his family. The Pakistani staffer at the Governor’s residence said that five of his sons were PoWs of the 1971 war, who were treated with a lot of respect despite being Pakistani soldiers.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of 93,000 Pakistani military and government personnel surrendering to the Indian Army, putting an end to the Bangladesh Liberation War, which began on December 3, 1971. This was the largest army surrender ever.

On the occasion of the 50th Vijay Diwas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday participated in the homage and reception ceremony of ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaals’ at the National War Memorial in Delhi. He was accompanied by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The Prime Minister also laid a wreath at the war memorial.

Meanwhile, the Indian President- Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday left for a three-day state visit to neighbouring Bangladesh to attend the 50th Victory Day celebrations as the guest of honour. Besides paying tribute at the National Martyrs Memorial in Savar and meeting Muktijoddhas of the 1971 war, the Indian President will also be inaugurating and reviewing the newly constructed section of the Ramna Kali temple in Dhaka which was demolished by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. At that time, the barbaric Pakistani Army had slaughtered hundreds of Hindus inside the temple before eventually razing it down. 

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