Colonel MK Govindan, who was part of the Indian Army that helped Bangladesh in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, will attend the 16 December Victory Day celebrations of Bangladesh, along with others of the Indian Armed Veterans contingent who have been invited.
Govindan (75), a resident of Kannur, was a 64 Mountain regiment captain when India allied with Bangladesh in the war against Pakistan. The colonel has looked back on this time of history on a recent report by The Hindu.
Bangladesh, the then East Pakistan, was in outright mayhem post-execution of Operation Searchlight by the Pakistani military junta based in West Pakistan.
Govindan was the observation officer of a covert operation, and as artillery battery commandant assigned to support the First Guard regiment who were giving arms training to the Mukti Bahini, also known as Bangladesh Force - the guerrilla resistance movement faction consisting of the Bangladeshi military, paramilitary and civilians that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan.
According to the report, Govindan recalls that the railway tracks from Barsoi junction that went to East Pakistan were dismantled and he had to travel by vehicle to join the regiment.
The two-and-a-half months of the training were more difficult and laborious than the war itself, he said. There was a scarcity of food and they had to shift places in the terrains as the enemies weren't far off.
"But nothing mattered. The thoughts of family or our loved ones hardly bothered. The mind was fixed to accomplish the task and upholding the nation's pride mattered the most," he remembered.
The colonel supported the Mukti Bahini through their various operations, but things took a turn on 4 December. Govindan was giving fire support to the First Guard when a motor shell fired by the enemies landed on the tree from where he was watching the enemy line to direct the artillery. He sustained several injuries and two dislocated shoulders.
He was downgraded due to medical reasons and posted to station headquarters near Siliguri.
Govindan served in various positions and later commanded the 72 Medium Regiment in Siachen from 1987-90.
The now-retired colonel has never visited Bangladesh after the war but feels nostalgia and pride as he reminisces the struggle of his fellow soldiers who put their lives at stake for the people of Bangladesh.