As India troops thrust deeper into East Pakistan on Monday, and Pakistan forces pushed into India Kashmir, India announced its formal recognition of Bangla Desh as an independent nation.
As India troops thrust deeper into East Pakistan on Monday, and Pakistan forces pushed into India Kashmir, India announced its formal recognition of Bangla Desh as an independent nation. The announcement by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was received with cheers in both Houses of Parliament, Pakistan retaliated by cutting off diplomatic relations with India.
In Calcutta, the Indian city closest to East Pakistan and the main centre for the millions of refugees from the province, there were scene of jubilation outside the Bangla Desh Mission - from there a procession moved through the streets of Calcutta, passing by the Soviet and United States consulates.
In Now Delhi, the Deputy Chief of the Bangla Desh Mission received a visit from Mr Om Menta, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, and other Indian officials with goodwill messages for Bangla Desh.
Meanwhile, in other parts of Old and New Delhi, workmen digging trenches in public parks, and volunteers queueing up to give blood donations, were the main evidence of the conflict to the north and east.
SYNOPSIS: In Calcutta, Indian and Bangla Desh flags mingle as supporters of an independent East Bengal celebrate India's decision to give formal recognition to Bangla Dash - the Bengal Nation. The decision was announced on Monday by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, as Indian troops thrust deep into East pakistan; it was greeted with jubilation at the Bangla Desh Mission in Calcutta.
Inside the mission compound, the Bangla Desh flag was raised by Mission chief Hossain Ali. The Mission was formerly the Pakistan Deputy High Commission. A Statement from self-styled Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Moshtaq Ali expressed the heartfelt thanks of the people of Bangla Desh to the Government and people of Indian at what he called "this epoch-making moment of history". Lorry-loads of Bangla Desh supporters converged on the mission and began a procession through the streets of Calcutta.
The procession passed by the Soviet Consulate - but from Moscow there was no sign that the Soviet Union intended to follow India's example by recognising the breakaway state. Another prominent building on the procession route was the United States Consulate. The Bangla Desh supporters sang patriotic songs and slogans. They also carried banners proclaiming India-Bangla Desh friendship and calling for the release of the arrested Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Across the country in New Delhi, hundreds of miles from the breakaway province, the celebrations were more formal with national and state leaders calling on Deputy mission chief K.M.Shebbuddin, to offer their congratulations.
Mr Om Mehta, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, was among those who paid officials calls. The recognition of Bangla Desh led Pakistan to retaliate by breaking off diplomatic relations with India for the first time.