When Indian Navy used Brilliant Military Strategy To Defeat Pakistan
India has a rich history of naval warfare. In fact, Indian ships have made their presence felt since the time of Rajendra Chola’s 10th-century naval expedition to Southeast Asia and Maratha Admiral Kanhoji Angre’s 18th-century naval battles against the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese.
This tradition of remarkable military exploits has continued even post-independence, with the Indian Navy playing a key role in at least four major military operations after 1947. There are several stories and anecdotes in the annals of the Indian Navy that illustrate why it has earned the reputation of a force to be reckoned with.
But the most celebrated among them is the story of the audacious naval operation commemorated by India’s Navy Day, Operation Trident.
In 1968, war clouds were already gathering on the horizon when the Indian Navy decided to acquire the Osa-I missile boats from the Soviet Union. Osa translates to ‘wasp’ in Russian and these boats did have a powerful sting thanks to their deadly ship-to-ship Styx missiles (that could blow the biggest enemy cruisers out of the water) and Range-out homing radars (that could out-range any naval radar of that era).
Thus, the fast-moving and stealthy missile boats could look deep and strike deep. However, they had one crucial downside — designed primarily for coastal defence, they had a short range. Nonetheless, Indian Navy acquired eight Osa-Is, established its Missile Boats Squadron, and flew crew members to Russia for eight-month-long raining in the freezing Siberian winter.
The 25th Missile Squadron was based at Mumbai and equipped with brand new Russian Osa class missile boats armed with Styx missiles. In the western theater in December 1971, the Indian navy planned to hit Karachi on the very first day that Pakistan attacked India.
OPERATION TRIDENT :
War broke out& Pakistan Air Force jets attacked Indian airfields on the evening of December 3, 1971. The Indian Navy decided to attack on the night of December 4. In order to inflict maximum damage and to confuse the enemy, the raid was to be coordinated with a strike by the Indian Air Force on Karachi harbour.
A key and unusual advantage with the Indian Navy was the Osa class missile boat crew’s fluency in the Russian language. Communication between the attacking vessels, Naval HQ at Mumbai and the IAF was extensively in Russian.
This was done to fool the Pakistani naval intelligence before the commencement, and during the attack. The enemy could not connect the chatter on the radio waves to any offensive sea movements by the Indian Navy.
In fact, Pakistani intelligence believed the radio chatter came from the Russian Navy’s detachment located further south in the Arabian Sea. They thought the Russians were manoeuvring in response to the US Navy’s movements in the region.
On December 7, 1971, the Killer Squadron sailed into Bombay to a heroes’ welcome — in 90 minutes, it had fired six missiles, sunk three front-line enemy vessels and destroyed the oil storage facility at the Karachi harbour, without a single Indian casualty.
The Indian Navy’s use of Russian language to communicate during the 1971 strike on Karachi harbour proved crucial in the success of the operation.
This has been taken from Quora by an answer by Vijaypal Singh.