Written byNewsBytes Staff ·
Since India's independence, the Indian Navy has toiled tirelessly to secure the nation's vast maritime frontiers.
The fourth of December is celebrated every year as the Indian Navy Day to pay homage to the guardians of our seas.
It also commemorates Operation Trident, the Navy's most successful and daring mission which helped India win the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Here's all about Operation Trident.
Tensions between India and Pakistan were rising after Pakistan declared a national emergency on November 23, 1971.
On the evening of December 3, Pakistani aircraft attacked six Indian airfields.
War was upon us and a special strike group of Indian Navy warships was formed with the objective of attacking Karachi.
Karachi was Pakistan's primary maritime trading hub and the headquarters of the Pakistani Navy.
The Karachi strike group comprised of three Soviet-built Osa-1 class (named Vidyut-class in India) missile boats: INS Nipat, INS Nirghat and INS Veer. These were labeled Killer Squadron 25 (K-25).
Each boat was armed with four Styx surface-to-surface missiles.
The group was escorted by two Arnala-class anti-submarine corvettes: INS Kiltan and INS Katchall, which possessed powerful radars; and a fleet tanker INS Poshak.
The missile boats of the strike group were tasked with firing their missiles at various Pakistani naval assets.
However, the boats were designed for coastal defense and lacked the range to attack Karachi and return safely.
Hence, the boats were towed as close to Karachi harbor as possible.
Interestingly, Pakistan had ordered all non-naval ships to stay 120km away from the harbor.
At 10 pm, INS Nipat's radar started beeping, showing two enemy warships.
INS Nirghat fired two missiles at what was Pakistani destroyer PNS Khaibar and sunk it.
Meanwhile, INS Nipat fired missiles and sunk merchant ship MV Venus Challenger, which was carrying ammunition for the Pakistani army and air force.
The Nipat and Nighat also targeted Pakistani destroyer PNS Shah Jahan, badly damaging it.
The INS Veer also targeted and sunk the Pakistani minesweeper PNS Muhafiz.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani naval headquarters requested help from the Masroor airbase in Karachi.
There was no reply because the Indian Air Force launched airstrikes on the base, as part of a pre-planned coordinated strike with Navy's attack.
INS Nipat also targeted an oil depot in Karachi harbor, setting it ablaze.
With the mission a success, the strike group sped back towards the Indian port of Mongrol and then to Bombay.
However, INS Nipat experienced engine problems and arrived at Mongrol late afternoon on December 5.
In all, the Indian Navy sunk three Pakistani frontline warships and destroyed Karachi's oil storage facility without suffering a single casualty.
The Pakistani Navy was effectively paralyzed.
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