|Bose took command
of the INA on 4 July 1943. His very presence put new life into
a disheartened force. All fissures in the INA disappeared. The
reorganisation turned the INA into fighting force.
By October 21, 1943, the Provisional Government
of Azad Hind had been proclaimed and the INA was already in
the battlefront engaging the British forces trying to regain
a foothold in Burma by the sea-route, making Akyab the beach-head.
The INA fought very well in the Arakans forcing the British
force to fall back leaving a vast quantity of small and heavy
By December 1943, the 1st Division of the
INA commanded by Col. Mohammad Zaman Kiani moved to Rangoon.
Netaji Subhas Bose's advance headquarters had also been moved
from Singapore to Rangoon in the foreknowledge of Japan's
decision to launch an expedition to capture Assam to breach
the routes of American supplies to Chiang Kai-Shek's Army
and also to forestall the Allies' invasion of Burma from the
Japan had information of a vast mobilisation
of allied forces of nationalities to retake Burma by a combined
operation of the air and land forces. Japan's air force, never
comparable to what the Allies could field, had been virtually
shot out of the sky over Burma.
In the evolution of Japan's policy towards
India, Subhas Bose's meetings with Japan's premier Tojo on
June 14, 1943 in Tokyo played a decisive part at a crucial
stage of the Pacific War in 1943-44.
Having suffered naval reverses in the spring
of 1943, and the German forces having failed to break the
British barrier in West Asia and the Soviet resistance in
the Caucasus, Japan was singly bearing the brunt of the reorganised
Allied Forces in the Far East and Southeast Asia.
The German navy failed to rendezvous with
the Japanese navy near the Indian coasts. Germany's breakthrough
in Urals did not happen. Japan, perennially short of petroleum
and war material, was adjusting itself to a defensive position
in East Asia.
The Mohan Singh episode had left Japan somewhat
disillusioned with the value of the IIL and the INA. Many
INA operatives sent by sea and land routes to India had been
captured by the British.
The Japanese liaison agency suspected pro-British
elements among Indian POWs for these losses. Japan did not
realise that besides the efficacy of the Anglo-American spy
network in East Asia, the British and Americans had broken
Japan's secret code. Anglo-American intercepts gave an almost
clear picture of all coded wireless traffic of Japan.
Meeting Bose for the first time on June 14,
1943, Tojo was deeply impressed by Subhas's intellectual grasp
of the war situation and the leadership capability. He had
not met before an Indian of Subhas Bose's stature.
Thereafter, Tojo decided to risk, with
reorganised INA help, an expedition towards the Burma-NEFA
borders of India to block American supplies to Chiang Kai-Shek
and also to preempt the Allies' invasions of Burma. Bose would
have preferred a lunge through the Arakans towards the lower
Bengal Districts to create a liberated zone. In the Arakans,
the INA gave an account of itself.