On April 18, 1944 the suicide squads of the
INA commander Col. Shaukat Malik broke through the British
defence and captured Moirang in Manipur.
It was an emotional occasion for the INA men.
They were at last on Indian soil. They had at last driven
out the British from a part of their enslaved motherland.
Col. Shaukat Malik unfurled the tricolour Indian national
flag in Moirang, and the INA formation made a dash towards
Imphal. The Azad Hind administration took control of the freed
The advancing INA breached the Kohima road, posing a threat
to the British positions in both Silchar and Kohima. Col.
Gulzara Singh's column had penetrated 250 miles into India.
The Azad Brigade advanced, by outflanking the Anglo-American
The bid to take Imphal was frustrated by the
collapse of Japan's supplies and the Allies' total control
of the skies. It was at this stage that two INA officers went
over to the British side. The deserters not only botched the
attack but also gave the British a graphic account of the
INA's desperate situation.
The British decision to retreat was
reversed, reinforcements sent and air attacks on the INA and
Japanese troops intensified to force the hungry and thirsty
expeditionary force to retreat.