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‘Operation Trident’—the audacious attack on Karachi harbour on 4 December 1971 marks Indian Navy Day

Operation Trident

India celebrates the Indian Navy Day every year on December 4 to commemorate Operation Trident under which the Indian Navy executed a lethal attack on the Karachi harbour during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. India carried out the naval assault after Pakistan attacked Indian air bases on the evening of December 3, 1971.

The naval attack wrecked fuel storage tanks at the Karachi harbour and sunk Pakistani Destroyer Khaiber, Minesweeper Muhafiz and MV Venus Challenger. Indian Navy warships—INS Nipat, INS Nirghat and INS Veer—played an important role in the attack. As the war continued, the Indian Navy launched another attack on Karachi on December 7-8 damaging MV Gulf Star, MV Harmatton and PN Tanker Dacca.

On this memorable day for the Indian defence forces and for all Indians, India Narrative compiles a photo feature with 12 outstanding visuals of the attack on the Karachi harbour from the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Image courtesy Indian Navy's Instagram and Twitter accounts. The dare-devil attack on the Karachi harbour by three Indian Navy missile boats came as stunning bolt from the blue for the Pakistani forces and drove home the message of both the tactical and operational superiority of the Indian Navy in the 1971 war.

On the night of December 3, 1971, Indian Navy missile boats carried out successful attacks on the Karachi harbour sinking Pakistani Destroyer Khaiber, Minesweeper Muhafiz and MV Venus Challenger. The missile attack also destroyed the Kiamari oil fields. This was the first time that an anti-ship missile was used in a Indo-Pak war.

Karachi was attacked again on December 7. This time it was the INS Vinash which fired four missiles and damaged Pakistani warships MV Gulf Star, MV Harmatton and Pakistani tanker Dacca.

INS Mysore, with the motto, ‘Na bibheti kadachana’ (never be afraid), made a stellar contribution during the Western Fleet Operations of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War. Commissioned on 29 August 1957, it formed part of the formidable Western Fleet of the Indian Navy.

During 1971 Indo-Pak War, INS Beas was operating in the Bay of Bengal with INS Vikrant and INS Brahmaputra. It intercepted a Pakistani merchant ship, Anwar Baksh, masquerading as MV Azul Hasan Maru, on 09-10 Dec 1971. The Pakistani ship – Anwar Baksh alias Azul Hasan Maru – was carrying Pakistani soldiers disguised as labourers. Eighteen men from INS Beas under the leadership of Lt Cdr Bazaz fearlessly boarded the Pakistani vessel and brought it to Sandheads. The entire crew of Anwar Baksh/Azul Hasan Maru was taken as prisoners.

The war ended on 16th December 1971 with the liberation of East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. India took one of the largest-ever prisoners of war (POWs), with over 90,000 Pakistani armed forces personnel surrendering before the Indian forces.