Announcements statement of the Prime Minister of India Mrs....

statement of the Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi in Parliament on the Pakistan Army’s surrender in Bangladesh.

New Delhi, December 16, 1971

            I have an announcement to make. The West Pakistan forces have unconditionally surrendered in Bangladesh. The instrument of surrender was signed in Dacca at 1631 hours I.S.T. today by Lt.Gen.A.A.K-Niazi on behalf of the Pakistan Eastern Command. Lt.Gen.Jagjit Singh Aurora, GOC-in-C of the Indian and Bangladesh forces in the Eastern Theatre, accepted the surrender. Dacca is now the free capital of a free country.

             This House and the entire nation rejoice in this historic event. We hail the people of Bangladesh in their hour of triumph. We hail the brave young men and boys of the Mukti Bahini for their valour and dedication. We are proud of our own Army, Navy, Air Force and the Border Security Force, who have so magnificently demonstrated their quality and capacity. Their discipline and devotion to duty are well known. India will remember with gratitude the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives, and our thoughts are with their families.

            Our Armed Forces are under strict orders to treat Pakistani prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention and to deal with all sections of the population of Bangladesh in a humane manner. The Commanders of the Mukti Bahini have issued similar orders to their forces. Although the Government of Bangladesh have not yet been given an opportunity to sign the Geneva Convention, they also have declared that they will fully abide by it. It will be the responsibility of the Government of Bangladesh, the Mukti Bahini and the Indian armed forces to prevent any reprisals.

            Our objectives were limited—to assist the gallant people of Bangladesh and their Mukti Bahini to liberate their country from a reign of terror and to resist aggression on our own land. Indian armed forces will not remain in Bangladesh any longer than is necessary.

            The millions who were driven out of their homes across our borders have already begun trekking back. The rehabilitation of this war-torn land calls for dedicated team work by its Government and people.

            We hope and trust that the Father of this new nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, will take his rightful place among his own people and lead Bangladesh to peace, progress and prosperity. The time has come when they can together look forward to a meaningful future in their Sonar Bangla. They have our good wishes.

            The triumph is not theirs along. All nations who value the human spirit will recognize it as a significant milestone in man’s quest for liberty.