Operation Dwarka-1965: A golden chapter in naval history


History is all about interpretation. It is always there to provide whatever is required to the reader or learner at that mo­ment. It gives motiva­tion, it boosts self-es­teem and sense of pride, it defines historical phe­nomenon, as well as it provides a list of regrets and lessons learnt for the parties. All negative and positive aspects of history provide ba­sis for states’ policies. There are events and decisions which could become permanent source of motivation and pride or even igno­miny in the history of any nation.Yet the most difficult events of his­tory to be analyzed are related with military… the wars or violent con­flicts.Especially when wars between Pakistan and India are men­tioned and studied aca­demically, one can see difference of opinions and perspectives quite vividly.

Since Pakistan’s in­ception in 1947, there was visible discrepancy regarding the distribu­tion of assets between Pakistan and India. Similar was the case with military share. It was quite discernible in Navy too. Pakistan Navy got a small share in form of 2 sloops, 4 fleet mine­sweepers, 4 harbour de­fence launches, 2 trawl­ers, 2 frigates (keeping in mind that those frig­ates were nowhere clos­er technologically to the modern frigates), and around 3600 personnel including 180 officers. Under the Western ar­rangements of SEATO and CENTO to contain Communism in 1950s, Pakistan got limited military assistance and purchase and supply of naval equipment was made possible too; yet limited. Nevertheless addition of a submarine (ex-US TENCH class) to Pakistan Naval Fleet in 1964 was a remarkable step which proved as major deterrent. This submarine was named as “Ghazi” which was only second in the In­dian Ocean Region and soon became active for patrolling its waters.

As Pakistan and In­dia have been locked into enmity since be­ginning; and India be­ing larger and com­paratively stronger on power matrix had already made security the primary concern for Pakistan. With such imbalance in power, Pakistan has been fac­ing challenges and has performed rather bet­ter during tough times.The exemplary success of Operation Dwarka in the wake of 1965-Paki­stan-India War was one such incident which be­came proud part of his­tory of Pakistan.In the heat of war, Indian Navy was focusing mainly at West Pakistan which compelled Pakistan to ensure security of its maritime boundaries in the Arabian Sea as well as Sea Lines of Com­munication (SLOCs) for uninterrupted trade and commercial ac­tivities along with the inland water defence in the creek areas and estuaries of West and East Pakistan against potential Indian am­phibious assaults. Es­sentially these were the tasks successfully being undertaken by Pakistan Navy with compara­tively inferior logistics and naval technol­ogy than India. In those challenging days, Oper­ation Dwarka emerged as symbol of persever­ance and professional capabilities of Pakistan Navy despite all hur­dles and naval power imbalance.

Dwarka is coastal city of Gujrat situated on north-western peninsula which has been quite significant for India, not only religiously and culturally but militarily too. There was the radar installation which was guiding Indian Air Force to launch attacks on im­portant cities of Pakistan especially Karachi. The core objective of Opera­tion Dwarka was multi-fold in effect as it was not only aimed at destruc­tion of the radar but to provoke Indian warships stationed at erstwhile Bombay (now Mumbai) port to come to the Ara­bian Sea where Pakistani submarine “Ghazi” was prowling and waiting to engage those ships.



The writer is working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, NUML, Islamabad. Email: malihazkhan@gmail.com