Connect with us

Indian Defense

Rewinding: How Vijay Karnik’s Heroics Led To India’s Victory In 1971 Indo-Pak War

Published

on

Rewinding: How Vijay Karnik’s Heroics Led To India’s Victory In 1971 Indo-Pak War

When Pakistan dropped Napalm bombs on the Indian Air Force airstrip in Bhuj on the night of December 8, 1971, it was Squadron leader Vijay Karnik who showed courage and spontaneity to rally together 300 women to rebuild the runway again.

A 23-year-old young boy joins the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1962, oblivious of what was to come nine years later — 1971 India-Pakistan war. When Pakistan dropped Napalm bombs on the Indian Air Force airstrip in Gujarat’s Bhuj on the night of December 8, 1971, it was Squadron leader Vijay Karnik who showed courage and spontaneity to rally together 300 women to rebuild the runway again.

This Independence Day, India TV spoke with Vijay Karnik, who travelled back in time to narrate what went into the arduous task of repairing a bombed airstrip.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

1. 1971 happens to be a crucial year. Bangladesh Liberation War broke out between India and Pakistan. You were posted as the Base Commander of Bhuj Air Force base then in Gujarat. The Bhuj runway was destroyed by Pakistan in intense bombing, and you were faced with a really tough task. How did things work in your favour?

3rd (December) onwards, every night we were getting bombings over there (Bhuj). And, we were not sustaining severe damage, it was very slight. Sometimes they (Pakistan) missed the complete target and instead dropped the bombs outside the perimeter of the airfield also. Our operations were not hindered at all. 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th…everyday bombing was going on. Whatever little damage we suffered…it was quickly repaired by our contractors, labourers and our military engineers. And, we were attacking Karachi day and night. Half the Karachi was burning. Their airfields were burning, their naval dockyard was burning. They (Pakistan) had suffered immense damage. And to top it up, on 5th and 6th, we shot down two of their aircraft over Bhuj. They, on the other hand, had their own plans for the Kutch area to isolate, and capture Kutch. Because in the 1965 (Indo-Pak) war also, their tanks had come across the Rann of Kutch… before the war. So they were quite familiar. They (Pakistan) had all the plans to destroy this particular Bhuj airfield. They planned a concentrated attack on the night of 8th (December), 9th in Bhuj. And it was successful…they destroyed our runway and rendered it non-operational. And the same day I was supposed to get a Sukhoi squadron from Punjab area.

2. Being so young in age and experience back then, what all went through your mind when the war was at its peak but the airfield damaged? Was there a fear of failing too?

I was the youngest base commander in 1971 war…with nine years into service. All other base commanders were 18-20 years into service…much higher ranks, they were group captains and Wing commanders. I was a squadron leader. And there was immense responsibility. We had some helicopters and aircraft also under operation at our base at Bhuj.

3. The contribution of 300 women in repairing the airfield is well-known, as also depicted in the newly-released Hindi movie ‘Bhuj’. How did you convince them to get a huge runway back in form?

When all of this was happening, bombing was going on the entire night, the whole Bhuj town was shaking with bomb blasts. There was huge panic. Everybody from the village started evacuating and running away with whatever vehicle they got, or, on foot.

In the morning, we surveyed the runway, it was damaged in 8 places. We said…let’s call our contractors and labourers, but then we came to know that they had run away. Nobody was daring to come near the airfield, leave apart entering the airfield. Then there was no pioneer company available…they were working elsewhere. But it was very crucial because Pakistan Army was closing in on…and it was imperative to get the Bhuj airfield operational again. Then I thought of Madhapur, a village close to Bhuj, people there were from well-to-do families, they had a social custom of doing the construction job. All the ladies were educated, girls were studying in schools and colleges. I approached them and somehow they got convinced and they dared to come…initially 30 came, followed by 100 and then the whole village came. With great courage, they entered the runway and started repairing when the war was going on, in fact when the war was at its peak.

We told them how to take shelter during the bomb raid, there were some bushes to hide underneath. We told them what is the air raid warning signal, what is an all-clear signal. They were daring to adhere to the instructions. They made the runway at a very fast rate. And our base was again operational!

As early as possible, I just wanted to get the runway repaired and put the airfield from non-operational status to operational status. Because it’s a big setback for an Air Force base becoming non-operational in a war. It’s not a done thing.

As this was happening, Indira Gandhi heard this particular story. On 24th December, she came to Bhuj. Bhuj is the only airbase she visited after the war. She didn’t visit any airbase except Bhuj. Then she addressed us, the Air Force staff…thanked us and said you’ve done a great job and saved Kutch from going into the hands of Pakistan.

Then there was a function in the Circuit House where all these women were there. And they met Indira Gandhi, talked to her and told her about their experiences, spent almost 3-4 hours with Indira Gandhi. In the evening, there was a rally, Indira Gandhi was addressing the rally and she said we have won the war, great job done by the armed forces. She also said that earlier we had one Jhansi ki Rani and now 300 Jhansi ki Rani who actually took part in the construction process.

4. The movie ‘Bhuj’ has hit the screens. The directors, producers and actors of the movie studied your role and spoke with you too. How well do you think it portrays your real-life events?

Director Abhishek Dudhaiya knew it all. He had been hearing the stories of the war from his grandmother, who was a part of these 300 women who helped rebuild the Bhuj runway. He also spoke with 50-60 of these women who were still alive. They’ve done good work.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Indian Defense

INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

Published

on

By

INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





Source link

Continue Reading

Indian Defense

After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

Published

on

By

After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





Source link

Continue Reading

Indian Defense

Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

Published

on

By

Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.