Exile Armies pp 87-100 | Cite as

The Mukti Bahini – Midwife to a Nation?

  • Keith Blackmore


In 1971, Pakistan was torn apart by a political crisis under-pinned by economic grievance. An acceptable negotiated settlement proved impossible to achieve, and force was used to impose a solution. Pakistan’s attempt to assert the authority of an increasingly discredited Military Government over the 73 million Bengali population of East Pakistan was a gamble. To attempt a ‘security’ solution depending for its successful implementation on only some 60,000 under-equipped troops considerably lengthened the odds. The presence of a powerful and unsympathetic neighbour able and willing to offer sanctuary, and more besides, to those resisting the ‘occupation’ of their homeland rendered Pakistan’s regional position hopeless.


Armed Resistance Indian Force Guerrilla Force Indian Border Indian Territory 
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  1. H. Zaheer, The Separation of East Pakistan (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 131.Google Scholar
  2. Major General D. K. Pallit, The Lightning Campaign (New Delhi: Thomson Press [India], 1972), pp. 54–5.Google Scholar
  3. Henry Kissinger quoted in Roy Linklider, Stopping the Killing: How Civil Wars End (New York: New York University Press, 1993), p. 25.Google Scholar
  4. M. Ayoob and K. Subrahmanyan, The Liberation War (New Delhi: Chand, 1972), p. 208.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Keith Blackmore

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