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From the archives of the Hindustan Times: December 18

Important and interesting stories from HT Chronicle.

chronicles Updated: Dec 18, 2019 19:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Indian troops move in to free Goa (1961)

Belgaum- India’s defence forces today (December 17) moved into Goa to wipe out the last vestige of colonialism on its soil and save the colony’s people from Portuguese repression and tyranny. The Indian Army and Air Force began operations early this morning in a three-pronged attack after all efforts of Prime Minister Nehru to settle the issue peacefully, during the past 14 years, had been spurned and rejected outright by the Portuguese.

A little before zero hour, Indian troops near the border took up positions and their advance into Goa was announced with a mighty thunder of guns that reverberated over the countryside.

In the soft light of the half moon with stars twinkling in the clear night sky, India forced by Portuguese intransigence and aggressive and provocative acts, took the final step to give the decisive blow to Portuguese colonialism.

First reports said the entry of Indian troops was resisted by the Portuguese. Machinegun and ordinary gunfire were heard here.

Indian troops supported by tanks and armoured cars, entered Portuguese-occupied territory at a number of points along the 180-mile border.

Official announcement of the entry into Goa was made at a news conference at 12-30 a.m. by chief Press officer, H. d’Penha.

Mr. d’Penha said jet fighters of the IAF and warships of the Navy were standing by.

Lt.-Gen. J. N. Chaudhury, GOC-in-C, Southern Command, is in overall charge of the operation, while Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Candeth is in Held command.

Message To People

As the Indian troops moved in, IAF planes zoomed overhead showering thousands of leaflets telling the Goan people that the Indian defence forces had come to protect them from any further repression and tyranny and uphold their honour and prestige at all costs.

Pakistan calls off the last war with India (1971)


New Delhi- It was all quiet on the western front at 8 p.m. (IST) today (December 17). The bitterly fought 14- day war between India and Pakistan ended when Pakistan President Yahya Khan accepted India’s unilateral proposal of a ceasefire made by Prime Minister ladira Gandhi yesterday after Islamabad’s military rule in Bangle Desh came to an inglorious end.

In a statement broadcast over Radio Pakistan, President Yahya Khan who only yesterday had declared that the “Holy Jehad” would continue, today said he was accepting the ceasefire “in the interest of peace and in response to India’s offer.” He, however, prefaced his declaration with a lengthy paragraph about faithful acceptance by his country of UN resolutions, obviously for domestic consumption.

As soon as confirmation of Gen. Yahya Khan’s acceptance of the ceasefire offer was received here through the Swiss and US Embassies, orders were sent by the three Service Chiefs to the forces under their respective commands to cease from 8 p.m. all offensive operations against Pakistani forces in the western theatre. They were, however, told to defend their present positions, if attacked.

While welcoming President Yahya Khan’s acceptance of her proposal, the Prime Minister cautioned members of the Congress (N) ParliamentaryParty against complacency since the next few months would be extremely difficult for the country. She did not elaborate.

The blackout orders in eastern India and some places south of Bombay have been lifted, but in Delhi, and northern India they will remain in force for the time being.

Before the guns went silent all along the border, two of the fieriest battles of the war - the third between the two nations since Independence - were fought in the Shakargath and Naya Chor areas where Pakistan threw in fresh armour in a futile bid to dislodge Indian forces firmly entrenched on its soil.

Pakistan has paid dearly for its unprovoked aggression against India. Over 24,000 West Pakistani troops, including 1,000 officers, have so far surrendered to the Indian Army in Bangla Desh. Pakistan has lost a third of its Air Force-94 aircraft out of 285 -and 20 per cent of its armour-244 out of a total of 1,200 tanks of all types. India’s losses are 45 aircraft and 73 tanks. The final tally will, however, be available tomorrow as full details of the punishment inflicted on the enemy today have not yet come in.

Azhar, Ajay steer India to a sensational victory (1988)


Baroda- Mohammed Azharuddin played a scintillating unbeaten innings of 108 to guide India to a sensational two-wicket victory with two overs and five balls to spare against New Zealand in the fourth Charminar Challenge one-day international here today.

Azharuddin’s second century, which took him just 65 balls and included nine fours and three sixes, helped India to overhaul the imposing 50-over New Zealand total of 278 for three, their highest in one-days against India in 26 internationals.

Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma, who again came up with a timely half century and put on 127 runs for the sixth wicket with Azhar in just 13.5 overs, rallied the home team after they were well behind the asking rate of 5.58 runs per over set by the visitors.

The Kiwis were outwitted in a brilliant manner by India who took the field without five of their regulars who had figured in the first three matches.

India, whose out cricket and misdirected bowling helped New Zealand to better their previous 1985-86 best, 259 for nine hoisted at Brisbane in the World Series Cup, thus took a 4-0 win in the five-match series. The two clash in the last match at Jammu on Dec. 19.

Azharuddin’s innings was a revelation. The brilliant Hyderabad batsman played an innings well out of character. He used the lofted drives and flicks to good effect, hitting over the top of the fielders with impunity and found the gaps with intelligent pushes and taps.

Ajay Sharma’s 50 came off in just 36 balls with five boundaries.

Azharuddin, who stepped on to the wicket when India were 118 for four in the 29th over, could have been dismissed by a more alert Ken Rutherford at extra-cover but the fielder, who otherwise excelled with his diving stops on the bad outfield, reacted late to drive off Chris Kuggeleijn and dropped the ball.