By Vice Adm (Retd) GM Hiranandani
27 Jul , 2015
The Pakistan Navy’s Deployment of Ghazi in the 1971 Indo Pakistan War
In his book, “Pakistan’s Crisis in Leadership”, written in 1972 soon after the war, Maj General Fazal Muqeem Khan states: (Page 153)
“The submarine GHAZI was despatched to the Visakhapatnam Naval Base in the Bay of Bengal. The GHAZI’s task was to carry out offensive mine laying against Visakhapatnam.
“GHAZI which had sailed towards Visakhapatnam with special instructions, had to reach its destination on 26 Nov 71. She was to report on arrival but no word was heard from her. Efforts were made to contact her but to no avail. The fate of the GHAZI was in jeopardy before 3 Dec. The Indians made preposterous claims about the sinking of the GHAZI. However, being loaded with mines, it seems to have met an accident on her passage and exploded. A few foreign papers at that time also reported that some flotsam had been picked up by Indian fishermen and handed over to the Indian Navy, which made up stories about its sinking”.
The Story of the Pakistan Navy’ published twenty years later in 1991, gives a slightly different account:
GHAZI’s deployment to the Bay of Bengal must be regarded as a measure taken to rectify a strategic posture that was getting increasingly out of step with military realities.
“The Navy ordered the submarines to slip out of harbour quietly on various dates between 14 and 22 November. They were allocated patrol areas covering the west coast of India, while GHAZI was despatched to the Bay of Bengal with the primary objective of locating the Indian aircraft carrier, INS VIKRANT, which was reported to be operating in the area.