This is the northern half of the Great Rann - an area lying in the south east corner of West Pakistan.
This is the northern half of the Great Rann - an area lying in the south east corner of West Pakistan. In the earthquake of 1819 this firm land was submerged under water and now, for the most part, it is stretch of saline land. The Rann made front line news recently as a result of India's abortive attempt to annex this territory by force of arms.
In the British times the northern half of the Rann was under the administrative control of the former Province of Sind - now part of Pakistan. Pakistan's rights in this area are supported by history, by international law and by documentary evidence. Indian disputes Pakistan's rights to this territory. The dispute was last discussed between the two countries at a Ministerial conference held in 1960. India had then asked for more time to collect material in support of her claim. Instead of resuming the negotiations, India, early this year, tried to occupy this area military and to face Pakistan with a fait accompli.
Towards the end of January this year, simultaneously with its intrusion into the East Pakistan enclave of Dahagran, India started probing in this region. She moved her forces into the disputed area. Indian troops set up new posts; they marked out new tracks; dug new trenches; built bunkers and simultaneously carried out hostile patrolling along the northern edge of the Rann. Two entire infantry Brigade Groups and other Indian troops - numbering 19,000 men - took up positions in the territory.
In the early hours of 9th April they struck in an attempt to dislodge Pakistani Forces from their lawfully established pests. The attack was repulsed by Pakistan Border Forces and the Indians retreated. The national Press front-paged developments and once again the attention of the work was focused on Indian aggression. Subsequent attempts by Indian Forces to regain more footholds in the area were failed by the alertness of Pakistani troops. The indian clashed with our troops north of Biar Bet on the 26th of April when the para-troopers from India's crack 50th Para-Brigade fled in confusion and Pakistan Forces gained full control of this strategic area.
Pakistani troops have shown by their action at Biar Bet that the Defense Forces are fully prepared to hurl back aggression in any form. Pakistani troops now held a line south of Biar Bet. They are firmly prepared to resist any encroachment in the territory disputed by India. From the air we glimpse a bird's eye view of the strong positions held by our troops in this rugged and difficult desert terrain. The Indian Forces at Biar Bet left behind equipment and personal belongings which tell their own tale. Pakistani troops captured seven Mercedes Trucks; and Jeeps and Trailers used by the Indians. Our troops also captured 106-Millimetre American anti-tank guns mounted on jeeps; 3.5 inch Rocket Launchers and large quantities of heavy armament and Small arms ammunition. The marking on the cases bear American Aid greeting stickers, let numbers and the name of the Indian Naval Armament Depot in Bombay, the source of supply of this equipment received by India as American Military Aid. Besides equipment and ammunition the Indian forces left behind tinned food and hundreds of uniforms showing that India had made thorough preparations to occupy this area by force.
A number of prisoners were taken. They are being provided every comfort under international conventions in camps in Pakistan. Following an identification parade these Indian Army Officer and Men are given a medical examination.
At the front a lull prevails. The morale of our troops is high. They are ready to move again at a moment's notice should the need arise. But as President Ayub Khan has said Pakistan does not desire a settlement by force. It wishes to settle all disputes peacefully. But any further aggression by Indian would not find Pakistan wanting in the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.