Dismiss Notice
Welcome to IDF- Indian Defence Forum , register for free to join this friendly community of defence enthusiastic from around the world. Make your opinion heard and appreciated.

India 's secret tibetan commando force did wonders in 1971 indo-pak war

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by DrSomnath999, Jul 26, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DrSomnath999

    DrSomnath999 Major RESEARCHER

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    2,664
    Likes Received:
    1,512
    Country Flag:
    France
    All throughout the year of 1950, Tibetan officials attempted to negotiate with the Chinese to end the violence and allow Tibet to retain political rights over its own land and people._ Tibetans appealed to India for help, later even involving the United Nations. Then came the fleeing of Dalai Lamas to India aided by CIA, and abetted by Indian Intelligence. Brig Ratu Nawang escorted the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Khampas had rebelled.

    The CIA had first trained the Khampa fighters at Saipan in March 1957 and then Camp Hale in Colorado for guerrilla warfare so that they could be dropped inside Tibet for sabotage against the Chinese. Huxley of BBC has written a book on this. The operation under the code name of 'ST Circus' was first headed by a US marine, Roger McCarthy. They trained in several batches about 259 Tibetan guerrillas. The CIA had also dropped some of them inside Tibet for sabotage and intelligence gathering.
    "A formation agreement was signed in 1962. The parties to this formation agreement were the Indian Intelligence Service (IB), the CIA and Chushi Gangdruk. General Gonpo Tashi Andrutsang and Jago Namgyal Dorjee, signed this three-party joint formation agreement on behalf of Chushi Gangdruk. Our organization took main responsibility for recruiting, and an initial strength of 12,000 men, mostly Khampas, were recruited at Chakrata, Dehra Dun, UP. Chushi Gangdruk sent two of the commanders to this new outfit to be political leaders in the initial stage", said Dokham Chushi Gangdruk, the Tibetan organization fighting for the Tibetan cause.

    Gyalo Thondup, elder brother of the Dalai Lama met the Khampas in Mustang. Conboy said, 'Gyalo also sought four political leaders who could act as the force's indigenous officer cadre….an initial contingent of Tibetans, led by Jamba Kalden, was dispatched to the hill town of Dehra Dun'.

    Soon, the CIA, sent eight of its advisers on a six-month temporary duty assignment. The team was led by a veteran CIA operative in several covert and deadly campaigns Wayne Sanford who was recipient of two Purple Hearts. "He was acting undercover from US Embassy as special assistant to Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith", wrote Conboy.

    The USA provided all the weaponry to them mostly M-1, M-2 and M-3 automatic rifles. As the covert guerrilla force was raised, Major General Sujan Singh Uban was assigned the task to command them as their Inspector General. The SFF ultimately came to be known as 'Establishment 22? or simply 'Two-two'at Charata. Interestingly, the guerrilla forces cap insignia was designed as if it was '12th Gorkha' regiment-crossed Khukri with '12? on top. This was a deception tactics as at that time there were only 11 Gorkha regiments, seven regiments were with Indian army and four with the British after independence. It was so decided to confuse common people, in case of meeting the guerrillas, with Gorkhas as the facial features were same. According to some, Jawaharlal Nehru once visited the guerrillas in Chakrata and was impressed by their training and discipline. The Dalai lama also visited them once.

    It was sometime in third week of October 1971 that one of the most top secret armed campaigns against the Pakistan army in East Pakistan, the Operation Mountain Eagle, was quietly launched. More than 3000 ( WoW) Tibetan commandos from Establishment 22 were dropped at an obscure and extreme border village Demagiri in Mizoram. The Indian secret services used AN- 12 plane from the ARC( AN -32s can be seen on the route to IGI near blue hangar and common knowledge) to bring the guerrillas by night sorties. Demagiri which was located across the river Karnafulli and Chittagong Hill Tracts in East Pakistan was by that time crowded with refugees. The Tibetan stayed incognito with the refugees for sometimes and then began small hit-and-run raids into East Pakistan. Biju Patnaik was one of the most Nationalist Leaders of India and cared for India's security but Nehru and Indira Gandhi found him too powerful and a brilliant Maverick to be made Defence Minister and this author was educated by him.

    Some documents indicate Biju Patnaik had first come up with the idea while he was closely working with the CIA at the behest of Pandit Nehru and Indian authorities in setting up of air surveillance ARC in Charbatia air base ( where U-2 took off and landed and still active) in his home state Orissa. Patnaik, a daredevil pilot with experience who saved Army with Kalinga Airlines airdrops in Assam and in several covert operations, according to Kenneth Conboy who authored an authoritative book on CIA operations relating to Tibet, wanted to raise a resistance force of Tibetans in Assam. However, the IB continued with the plan which ultimately materialized with the help of Chushi Gandruk, the main organization of the Khampa resistance and the CIA. Patnaik also flew Sukeorno to safety. Sone one story of 1971

    Forty years ago in 1971 on a cool and scary November 14, 1971 night in Chittagong a Pakistani sniper of Special Service Group SSG ( Musharraf's regiment) felt he saw 'phantoms'. They were Indians under cover trained military personnel Tibetans from Centre 22. The days were then uncertain in East Pakistan and nights were risky for Pakistani soldiers so he did not take any chance and opened fire. And the shadowy creatures just melted away in the darkness. One among them was, however, dying. He was shot at fatally. The Pakistani soldier did not know that he had just killed one of the toughest and CIA trained Tibetan guerrilla leaders-Dhondup Gyatotsang. Hindustan Times ran a story on a Brigadier who took part in the 1971 was in Bangla Desh now running a restaurant in Noida with Tibetan food as no Centre 22 officer could be decorated for actions in the 1971 war and it is not TOO LATE, but it means disclosing a lot.

    As Gyatotsang-a Dapon or Brigadier in Tibetan language-died his comrades, all armed simply with a Bulgarian AK 47 and their Tibetan knives, made radio contact with a turbaned Sikh some kilometres away and across the border. The Sikh barked at them the order: carry on with the task you are assigned to. As the order came the Tibetan guerrillas once again spread in the darkness and coiled up behind the Pakistani barracks and posts. They remained as shadows as long as they wanted and when the right time came they just struck with lightning speed raiding the Pak positions. One after another Pakistani posts fell as the Tibetans, who by this gained the title 'Phantoms of Chittagong', swept the hills and valleys of the hilly district of East Pakistan and restrained the Pakistani military movement to only small pockets. Weeks before the real war actually broke out on December 3rd, the Tibetan guerrillas turned Chittagong into a virtually a free zone with pre-emptive strikes for Indian army movement. Mukhti Bahini guided every regiment or their movement would not have been so swift for Victory. Army must study this dispassionately. The Navy was also helped by PN Bengali Submariners and that is another story.

    On December 16, 1971 when the Pakistani army surrendered, the Tibetan commandos were only 40 km from the Chittagong Port. By this time they had successfully accomplished the task that their chief, General Sujan Singh Uban had assigned to them: Operation Mountain Eagle. They had, however, lost 49 of their comrades and had 190 injured. 'Operation Mountain Eagle' launched in East Pakistan during 1971 Indo-Pak War was, perhaps, till date the most closely guarded and top most secret operation of Indian authorities in the eastern flank of the war areas. Officially the operation could not be recognized as the Tibetan guerrilla force-known as Special Frontier Force (SFF) or Establishment 22 or simply called 'two-two'-does not officially exists. The name it got from the fact that their first commander (at the rank of Inspector General) Maj. Gen. Sujan Singh Uban had once commanded 22 Mountain brigade. Since their inception in November 1962, the Establishment 22's direct engagement in Indo-Pak war is also significant for the mere fact that it was not their 'war' at all. They were fighting for the cause of their host country and for liberation of another country-not for Tibet. Their sacrifice was never officially or publicly recognized-neither by India nor by Bangladesh till today.

    PS In 1971 since the RAW headed by R. N. Kau was created on 21 September, 1968 the responsibility of the Establishment 22 also went to the agency. But their chief Maj. Gen. Uban had been worried at the way the trained commandos-as many as 64 companies, divided into eight battalions having six companies each and including other support units - were gathering moss in their Chakrata camps. They were not used against China or Pakistan for any real armed combat and the IG was worried that inaction and absence of field operations might reduce the morale and capabilities. It was at that time the East Pakistan went up in flames with Pakistan army resorting to large scale massacres and rape on March 25, 1971 as 'Operation Searchlight'. Two days later Major Zia Ur Rehman-a Bengali military officer with the Pakistan army announced 'independence' in Chittagong radio and attacked the Pakistani army cantonment. Within a day, many more military officers followed and millions of refugees poured into India to flee the Pakistani Army's massacres and rapes. India was playing the card well and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was successful in garnering massive international support, barring USA and China of course, for the brutalized East Pakistani Bengali population. By this time Mukti Bahini was formed from the refugee youths sheltered in Indian states for launching guerrilla wars and intelligence collections inside East Pakistan against the Pakistani forces.

    The idea was to create a pre-emptive strike force before the Indian regular army moved in after the rainy season was over. Incidentally, Maj. Gen. Uban was entrusted with the overall task for training of the Bengali forces like Mukti Bahini and Mujib Bahini. Maj. Gen. Uban did not miss the chance and moved New Delhi to send his Tibetan forces to East Pakistan who, according to him were already better trained and itching for an operation. After initial hesitation Indira Gandhi agreed to use the Tibetans, but sent the ball to the court of the Tibetans. Writes Tashi Dhundup, in article titled 'Not their own Wars', "Indira Gandhi in the lead-up to the SFF's deployment, Indira Gandhi wired a message to the Tibetan fighters, conveyed through their Indian commander: 'We cannot compel you to fight a war for us,' Gandhi wrote, "but the fact is that General A. A. K. Niazi (the Pakistan Army commander in East Pakistan) is treating the people of East Pakistan very badly. India has to do something about it. In a way, it is similar to the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans in Tibet, we are facing a similar situation. It would be appreciated if you could help us fight the war for liberating the people of Bangladesh." Following the letter the senior commanders of the Establishment 22 guerrillas discussed and agreed to help the Bengalis of East Pakistan to achieve their new nation Bangladesh. Operation Mountain Eagle was launched in a second cool November night, apparently avoiding the Eastern Command directly by the RAW.

    In fact Maj. Gen. Uban and his guerrillas were keen to capture the Chittagong Port. They were very close and Pakistan army were not at all in a position to stop them. But Indian military and other authorities were not ready to assign them with the task as, though it would have been easier for the guerrillas to capture the Port, to keep it under their control they would have needed heavy artillery weapons - which they did not have with them. Tibetan troops of SFF after victory in Chittagong where they conducted clandestine operations during 1971 war. They are equipped with Bulgarian variants of AK-47 and M-1 Garand rifles supplied by the USA. According to a document, when the Chittagong Port was captured by Indian military, the guerrillas were then asked to sit quiet about 40 kms away. However, on December 16 when the Pakistan army surrendered at Dhaka, the Phantoms of Establishment 22, for the first time in their history, came out in the open on the Chittagong road, rejoicing the victory of India over Pakistan. The common people were stunned by their sudden appearance - happy and rejoicing - virtually from nowhere, Even many Indian soldiers, who were also not aware of their presence in the vicinity were taken by surprise. But soon Maj. Gen. Uban was informed about the public appearance of the Tibetans on the Chittagong streets and he ordered them back to the shadows. They were never seen again. Their happy moment in public was only for some hours. Though the Tibetan guerrillas were arguably the main force that played the key role in Chittagong in the 1971 war, - sacrificing 49 (according to Tibetans' estimate 56) including one of their top leader and 190 injured, they could not be officially recognized. "The Indian government gave awards to 580 members of the force for their active involvement and bravery in the battles. The contribution made by Establishment 22 in liberating East Pakistan was great and the price paid by the force was also high", said Dokham Chusi Gandruk, the New York based organization. It then added: "(The fight and sacrifice) would have been of great value had it been used against communist China, the intended enemy….The SFF never had a chance of being used in operations against its intended enemy, Red China, but it was used against East Pakistan with the consent of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1971?. It is, however, a different story that the Establishment 22 was later used in many Indian operations including in Operation Blue Star, Siachen, Kargil. They are also being used as a main anti-terrorist force in many parts of the country. According to a report, in between Indira Gandhi's assassination and the formation of SPG, it was these Establishment 22 commandos who were in charge of the protection of the Gandhi family. But in all the cases down the decades they remained unsung heroes - the 'unknown' warriors from a different country who fought and sacrificed for others.

    India Defence Update: Article
     
    Levina likes this.
  2. DrSomnath999

    DrSomnath999 Major RESEARCHER

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    2,664
    Likes Received:
    1,512
    Country Flag:
    France
    INDIA's secret tibetian commando force were unsung heroes of 1971.What an irony they were formed to liberate tibet from
    china,but instead they helped mukti bahini & liberated east pakistan.
    This also signifies how succesful & deadly covert operation india can do,that fear still haunts pakistan in Baluchistan
     
    Levina and Firemaster like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page