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Newsletter. Issue 07. March 29, 2014


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The Liberation of Goa

'Operation Vijay', when the Indian Army marched into Goa and liberated it on December 19, 1961 from the Portuguese rule, will be felicitated this month when the state celebrates 50 years of its independence.

In this special section displays links to articles on the Liberation.

Important Note: The statements, opinions, or views in the articles may not necessarily reflect that of the Goan Voice Canada.

To read more click on below list:

The Liberation Of Goa: 1961 –An Overview
Source: http://corvalliscommunitypages.com/asia_pacific/goa.htm

Goa remained a Portuguese colony after the British left India. The Portuguese refused to give up their colonies in-spite of repeated requests of India. The struggle was two fold. From within Goa and from the Indian Government outside Goa.

Even though the Portuguese assumed that India had renounced the use of force, both the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as well as the defense minister, Krishna Menon made it clear that India would not fail to resort to force as an option, if all diplomatic efforts to make the Portuguese give up Goa fail.

The Build Up

After years of Negotiation, in late 1961, The government decided to deploy the armed forces in an effort to evict the Portuguese out of Goa and other Enclaves. Accordingly in November 1961, India made preparations for the same. Lt. Gen. Chaudhari of the Southern Army deputed 17 Infantry Division under Major General K.P. Candeth along with the 50th Para Brigade. To carry out the occupation of Daman, one infantry battalion - 1st Maratha LI - was assigned. Two battalions, 20th Rajput and 4th Madras, were assigned the task of taking over Diu.

The Portuguese were suspected to have some supersonic interceptors initially. Later it was believed that though fighters were not based, they maintained a regular supply chain by air. Facing this modest and insignificant air threat was amassed a huge Indian Air Force detachment. India had by that time six Hunter squadrons and four Canberra squadrons as its latest additions to the Air Force.

The Indian Air Force was requested to provide support elements to this massive ground force. The AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto, was appointed theater commander of all air forces in the Goan Operations.

Pinto had his HQs in Poona, Looking after all the operations in Daman, Diu and Goa. One Tactical Air Center, the No.2 TAC, was allocated to the Goa Sector. This TAC under Air Commodore Shivdev Singh conducted operations in conjunction with HQ 17 Division. Operations in Daman were to be the responsibility of No.2 Wing and Diu was directly under the Armament Training Wing at Jamnagar.

The main staging airbases were Poona and Sambre. Poona hosted two Canberra Squadrons No.16 and No.35 along with a Hunter force from No.17 and No.37 Squadrons.

It was at Sambre that most of the air component concentrated in. Sambre was initially raised to fulfill the requirement of a Forward Base from which support could be extended to Goa. No.45 Squadron had their main detachment of 8 aircraft based there. No.17 had one detachment of Hunters for air defence. And Harvards, Otters and Mi-4 helicopters formed the communication and command duties.

Goa Operations

The build up to the operations started on 2 December 1961. Probing flights by some fighters and bombers were carried out on December 8th and 9th to lure and draw out any Portuguese air opposition that may have been there. A Vampire, from No.108 Squadron, flew a PR Mission over some strategic targets without encountering opposition. These baiting missions were flown right up to D-Day, trying to draw out the Portuguese Air Force, but to no avail.

Then on D-Day 18 December, the Army Chief had sent a directive for the air force to take out specific targets. Namely:

  1. Dabolim airfield to be made unusable but at the same time ensure the terminals & facilities are not damaged.

  2. The Wireless Station at Bambolim to be knocked out.

  3. Close support to the land forces.

  4. Denial of use of Diu and Daman airfields. However, these airfields are not to be attacked without Prior approval.

The first use of air power occurred on December 18th. No.35 Squadron sent in a massive wave of 12 Canberras led by the CO, Wg. Cdr. N.B. Menon to attack Dabolim. The Canberras dropped 63,000 lbs. of bombs within minutes, on the runway. The Canberra pilots took care not to bomb the Terminals and the ATC. Menon noticed the presence of two large transport aircraft in the dispersal area. One Super Constellation and one DC-6 aircraft were parked on the apron. However the Canberras left the aircraft alone.

A second raid by eight Canberras of No.16 Squadron led by Wg. Cdr. Surinder Singh dropped more bombs on the runway area. The Portuguese aircraft were again left untouched. By this time, it was assumed that the airfield was rendered unserviceable and these aircraft can be captured intact as they had no where to go. However the Portuguese pilots of these aircraft proved to be both foolhardy but brave. During nightfall, they managed to take off the aircraft from the still damaged airfield and made their getaway to Portugal.

Meanwhile six Hunters of No.17 Sqn led by the CO, Sqn. Ldr. Jayant Singh took off from Sambre and attacked the Wireless station at Bambolim. Attacking with a mixture of rockets and gun cannon ammunition, the station was soon left a smoldering wreck.

The Army requested close support now and then. And usually Vampires of No.45 flew Cabrank over the sector to respond to any call for the support. However Two Vampires of No.45 made a mistake when called by troops of the 50th Para Brigade. They fired rockets into the positions of the 2 Sikh LI Bn injuring two.

The Sikhs on the other hand got their own back and fired at an Unmarked Harvard flying from Sambre putting a couple of holes into the aircraft. These were the only two untoward incidents in the sector. Shortly before the surrender on the 19th, the Liberators of No.6 Sqn flew over Marmagao in a leaflet-dropping mission. Heralding the surrender of the Portuguese in this Sector.

Daman sector saw about 14 Sorties by Mysteres of No.1 Squadron flying from Santa Cruz. Flying in pairs of two, the Mysteres harassed Portuguese gun positions continuously throughout the day. The major air effort of the Goa Operations were directed at the smaller enclave of Diu. At the southern tip of the Kataiwar coast.

Diu Operations

The Nearest Airfield to Diu was the airbase at Jamnagar where the Armament training wing was located. ATW Jamnagar had clear instructions not to mount offensive action against the Diu airfield without clearance from the Advanced HQ of 20th Rajput, the battalion on the ground. However on the morning of 18th, contact could not be established with the ground forces and the CO, ATW decided to launch a strike against the airfield at around 1100 hours.

Four Toofanis armed with 1000 lbs. bombs took off from Jamnagar arriving over the Diu airfield in minutes. The leader of the Toofanis, noticed some white flags being waved from the area surrounding the airfield which he assumed as a sign of surrender. Added to the confusion was a garbled message received by the Toofani flight about, "the airfield is in our hands". Assuming the surrender had already taken place, the flight leader took the Toofanis over to the sea and jettisoned their bombs into the sea! It was only after returning to the base that they found out that no surrender took place. The white flags noticed near the airfield were actually Dhobies washings hung out in the open to dry!

Two Toofanis took off again at 1400 hours and bombed the intersection of the runways at Diu. Another four Toofanis followed up later on rocketing the control tower, wireless station and the meteorological station.

Meanwhile Poona had planned for a massive strike by two waves of 8 Canberras each to bomb the Diu airfield. But the proximity of ground troops near the airfield prevented the deployment and the raid was called off. Around the same time, four Vampires flying from Jamnagar over the sea near Diu, noticed a Fast Patrol Boat traveling out of the Diu harbour. Upon closer observation, the Vampires were fired at by the Boat. Fg. Off. P.M. Ramachandran - the lead pilot - immediately engaged with gunfire and rockets and sank the patrol boat. For this feat he received the Shaurya Chakra.

Diu received the maximum air effort of all the three theatres during the Goa operations. With nearly 67 sorties being flown by aircraft from Jamnagar and elsewhere. All expenditure of ammunition ceased by the end of the second day, the surrender had all but taken place formally.


Portuguese Governer, Manuel Anonia Vassalo De Silva, signed the surrender document on December 19th and 3306 Portugese troops of European origin laid down their arms. They were repatriated to Portugal after a few months.

The Goa operations gave the IAF an opportunity to employ jet air power for the first time on a massive scale. However that the Portuguese did not have any AA defences nor aircraft to defend their positions. This robbed the IAF of a realistic battlefield scenario. It was not until 1965 that the combat potential of the air force was actually put to test.

Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto went on to become the AOC-in-C Western Air Command. He was killed in an helicopter crash in May 1963. Air Commodore Shivdev Singh became AOC-in-C Eastern Command. He retired as the Vice-Chief of Air Staff.

Diplomatic relations between Portugal and India were cut off for decades, and only recently did things cooled between the two nations, with Portugal agreeing to return the gold and assets held by their national bank. Hopefully this small conflict with the European nation was the last against a western nation.


The Liberation of Goa - An Overview

Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto, discusses with the TAC Commander, Air Commodore Shivdev Singh, at a forward area. Seen in the background is a Mi-4 Helicopter. Seen in the middle is Wg Cdr S Raghavendran, from Ops Command.

Pinto had his HQs in Poona, Looking after all the operations in Daman, Diu and Goa. One Tactical Air Center, the No.2 TAC, was allocated to the Goa Sector. This TAC under Air Commodore Shivdev Singh conducted operations in conjunction with HQ 17 Division. Operations in Daman were to be the responsibility of No.2 Wing and Diu was directly under the Armament Training Wing at Jamnagar.

The main staging airbases were Poona and Sambre. Poona hosted two Canberra Squadrons No.16 and No.35 along with a Hunter force from No.17 and No.37 Squadrons. It was at Sambre that most of the air component concentrated in. Sambre was initially raised to fulfill the requirement of a Forward Base from which support could be extended to Goa. No.45 Squadron had their main detachment of 8 aircraft based there. No.17 had one detachment of Hunters for air defence. And Harvards, Otters and Mi-4 helicopters formed the communication and command duties.



Goa to felicitate Operation Vijay veterans
Last Updated: Saturday, December 03, 2011, 14:22

Panaji: Army veterans who participated in 'Operation Vijay', when the Indian Army marched into Goa and liberated it from the Portuguese rule, will be felicitated later this month when the state celebrates 50 years of its independence.

Speaking to reporters, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh will be present at the celebratory function.  "The soldiers who were part of Operation Vijay (Dec 19, 1961) will be felicitated. We will also honour the chief of the Indian Army on behalf of Goans," Kamat said.

Kamat also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also scheduled to attend the function, but a pending Russia visit and the ongoing parliament schedule might just weigh heavy on the prime minister's mind. He further said that a string of cultural programmes will be held as part of the anniversary celebrations to mark the end of nearly 450 years of Portuguese rule here.



Goa's Freedom Movement
By: Lambert Mascarenhas
Co-Founder & Former Editor of Goa Today, Panaji.


Goa's Liberation by India, ANIMATION !!

1961 Indian annexation of Goa

The 1961 Indian annexation of Goa (also referred to as Invasion of Goa, the Liberation of Goa and the Portuguese-Indian War [citation needed]), was an action by India's armed forces that ended Portuguese rule in its Indian enclaves in 1961. The armed action, codenamed Operation Vijay by the Indian government, involved air, sea and land strikes for over 36 hours, and was a decisive victory for India, ending 451 years of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa. Thirty-four Indians and thirty-one Portuguese were killed in the fighting. The brief conflict drew a mixture of worldwide praise and condemnation. In India, the action was seen as a liberation of historically Indian territory, while Portugal viewed it as an aggression against national soil.

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Goa goes for gold

December 19 will mark 50 years of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule. Reena Martins on the array of cultural events that have been planned to celebrate an occasion replete with nostalgia

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Refusing to learn lessons of 1962
Geopolitical notes from India | M D Nalapat

In the closing days of 1961, the armed forces of the Republic of India launched Operation Vijay (“Victory”), which in 38 hours eliminated the Portuguese presence in Goa. Portugal’s crusty dictator, Antonio D”Oliveira Salazar, had refused several requests from Delhi that he emulate the example of France and the UK, both of which bid adieu to their colonies in India with dignity. As the small Portuguese garrison had no air force, and only an outdated sloop as its navy, it was a simple matter for the Indian army, navy and air force to defeat the forces mustered by Governor Vassalo e Silva, who had been ordered to hold out for as many days as possible, so that Salazar could bring to bear international pressure on India to withdraw.

The US ,since the death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, favoured Europe even in the matter of colonies (for example seeking to preserve French privileges in Vietnam). Hence there were angry noises even from the Kennedy administration about the effrontery of an Asian country resorting to force against a European. The Europeans were, of course, completely on the side of Salazar, saying that India ought to have continued to accept Portuguese rule in Goa, despite an overwhelming majority of citizens there wanting to be free.

Less than a year after their triumph over a force that was best described (in media at the time) as Lilliputian, the military was faced with a much deadlier foe, the Peoples Liberation Army. After two attempts to get Jawaharlal Nehru to accept the status quo as the international boundary failed in 1961,and the tensions created by the Red Carpet welcome given to the Dalai Lama and his followers since 1959, Mao Zedong decided to accept the advice of Defense Minister Lin Biao to “teach the Indians a lesson”.

In October 1962, waves of PLA soldiers overwhelmed one under-manned and ill-equipped Indian army position after the other, and began sweeping down towards the plains of Assam. Sadly, while the Goa operation had been left to the military to handle, the Chinese move was handled directly by Prime Minister Nehru, who had earlier appointed a close relation, Lt-Gen B M Kaul, as the Corps Commander in the east, with orders to “throw out the Chinese”. Despite his impressive lineage, the general was clueless when it came to warfare, being concerned mainly with logistics and supply during his none-too-distinguished career. General Kaul and “Commander-in-Chief” Nehru launched one disastrous move after the other, all of which ended in a comprehensive defeat that is even today a stain on the military.

For obvious reasons, the failure of the Higher Command in 1962,which was documented by Lt-Gen Henderson-Brooks and Lt-Gen P S Bhagat soon afterwards. Unlike the Goa - or earlier - operations, where different wings of the military were involved,the conflict between the PLA and the Indian army was conducted on both sides only through use of the army. The Indian Air Force was not used at all to push back the PLA, despite the fact that at that point in time, the PLA had only a few obsolete MiG-15s and an even smaller number of MiG-19s in operation in the sector.

These would have been no match for the Hunters and Mysteres of the Indian Air Force, which could have been used against Chinese troops coming into the plains through the narrow mountain passes. Although more junior IAF officers wanted to do battle with the PLA, their seniors went along with Nehru’s view that “We could not risk the bombing of Calcutta in retaliation” for Indian use of the Air Force. Such a fear was baseless, as the PLA (at that point in time) did not have bombers capable of reaching Calcutta from the much fewer bases that were then present in those parts of China that fronted India. If in the 1947-48 war with Pakistan Nehru relied on a foreign advisor (Lord Louis Mountbatten), this time the “military expert” consulted by him was US ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith, whose only knowledge of the military came from war movies.

The sage Glabraith warned Nehru that there would be “remorseless bombing” by the Chinese on Indian cities, if he dared unleash the IAF on the PLA. A jittery Nehru thereupon instigated the notorius command to “blow up all civil aircraft” in the eastern sector and “fly out all serviceable (military) aircraft”. The IAF was made to exit the battlefield without undertaking a single sortie, despite its superiority over the PLA air arm active in the conflict. Had the IAF been used, the PLA would not have been able to enter Tawang and other regions, thereby humiliating the Indian armed forces, and in particular the 4 Division. As Brigadier J P Dalvi wrote, it was a “Himalayan blunder” by Nehru, for which he placed the blame on Defense Minister Vengalil Kumaran Krishna Menon, who had to quit.

It was Nehru who was responsible for refusing to allow professional military expertise into the functioning of the Union Ministry of Defense, which is staffed purely by civil servants with no knowledge of the requirements of an armed force. Even fifty years ago, war needed the seamless working together of the army, navy and the air force, something that the present bureaucratically-created walls between the two services make difficult. The 21st century mandates an armed force very different from that of the early part of the previous century.

In view of India’s location and coastline, the navy needs to be the pre-eminent force, exactly as was the case with the UK in the past and is the case with the US now. However, this is a capital-intensive arm, and the only way that it could ever get the number of ships needed to fulfill its continental tasks would be if the US were to hand over about forty vessels to the Indian navy, including at least two aircraft carriers. Such a move will need to await regimes in Washington and Delhi that better recognize the need for the US to play with India the same role as it did with the UK during 1939, of giving the tools needed to “finish the job”. However, at present, such cooperation is a long way off. Years ago, when a group of strategists from both sides called for the USS Kitty Hawk to be handed over to India, the lobby in Delhi that wanted the huge benefits that came to them through purchase of the carrier “Admiral Gorshkov” from Russia combined with India-phobic elements in the Pentagon to veto the move. Unfortunately for India, neither the career civil servants nor the politicians who run the Defense Ministry have any strategic vision. Their attention span is only from deal to deal, of which there have been several.

More than $40 billiion has been committed by India in recent times towards defense purchases, while local production continues to be the monopoly of the state sector, which is known for inefficiency. The Defense Research & Development Organisation has turned into a place where scientists and others hibernate, with projects taking tens of years to get completed. By the time they finally get completed, they are out of date. In 1962,India was far ahead of China both in technology as well as economically.

However, poor management from the Indian side has resulted in Beijing now being far in advance of Delhi in almost every particular. Unlike the Indian side, which is content to buy technology and materiel from foreign providors without allowing the Indian private sector to compete, in China every foreign collaboration has been finalised with an eye to self-reliance. As a result,the items being produced in China are in many respects equal to that being turned out in the US and Europe, including stealth fighters and nuclear submarines. In India,the state-run defense production establishment functions as an assembler of items procured from abroad, and which may be stopped at any time. The importance of the defense establishment to the political class may be gleaned by the fact that the Sonia-led UPA has appointed a former Defense Secretary as the Central Vigilance Commissioner, despite the fact that the ministry is a cesspool of graft. The new CVC can be expected to look after the interests of his patrons as diligently as he did in his previous assignment.

Only in the Nehru system of administration do administrators monopolize the entire machinery that has been set up to identify corruption in their ranks. In each public enterprise, the anti-corruption department reports to the Top Management, which in almost all cases is itself mired in graft. Corrupt officials and politicians find it convenient to have only one of their kind holding all sensitive posts, as both have come together for their common benefit. If in the process, national interests suffer, so what?

—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

Eyewitness to the Liberation of Goa


Looking back Fifty Years
Pamela D'mello | Panaji

Goa: Fifty years after liberation from Portuguese rule, the loss of regional identity and culture figures repeatedly in its introspection.


ON December 19, Goa completes 50 years of its liberation from Portugal's colonial rule and integration into the Indian union. In 1961, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru decided to send the Indian armed forces into Goa, Daman and Diu – the last Asian outpost of Portugal's Estado da India. It was a decision the pacifist Nehru took after 14 years of attempting to negotiate a peaceful departure for the Portuguese, like the French and the British before them. But Portugal's dictator, Dr Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, rendered this impossible. His position that Goa was not its colony but an integral part of Portugal's overseas provinces made negotiation an exercise in futility.

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