A set of freshly declassified top secret papers on the 1971 war showed that when PM Indira Gandhi wanted to liberate Bangladesh, the Nixon Administration in the US had kept three battalions of Marines on standby to deter India and the USS Enterprise had orders to target Indian Army Facilities. Her courageous defiance of the US and the iron will to free Bangladesh was evident by India’s popular and firebrand PM Indira Gandhi. The 7th Fleet of the US Army was pushed to target Indian defence and support Pakistan. Publicly it was stated that it was to mobilize American nationals. Richard Nixon was responsible for the pro-Pakistan Tilt in 1971. An alarmed India sent an SOS to the Soviet Union for support and the Soviet Union stopped the American Interference into what now is modern day Bangladesh.
When Pakistan defeat in the 1971 war seemed imminent, Kissinger spurred Nixon to send the 🇺🇸 7th Fleet’s Task Force, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier 🇺🇸 Enterprise, to the Bay of Bengal.
The 🇺🇸 Enterprise, at 75,000 ton, was the world’s largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the 1970s with more than 70 fighter aircrafts. A monster. The Indian Navy’s fleet was led by the 20,000-ton aircraft carrier, Vikrant, with 20 light fighters.
The USS Enterprise was being dispatched to secure US citizens in Bangladesh was the official US statement. Unofficially it was to threaten the Indian forces and prevent the liberation of East Pakistan- now Bangladesh. India soon got another bad news.
Soviet intelligence reported to India that a powerful British naval group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle with commando carrier HMS Albion, several destroyers and other ships were approaching India’s territorial waters from the west, towards the Arabian Sea.
The British & US planned a coordinated pincer attack to intimidate India: the British ships in the Arabian Sea will target India’s western coast, while 🇺🇸 would make a dash to Chittagong. Caught between the british & the US ships was the Indian Navy
It was December 1971, and the world’s two leading democracies were now threatening the world’s largest democracy. An SOS from Delhi was sent to Russia. The Red Navy soon dispatched 16 Soviet naval units and six nuclear submarines from Vladivostok to block USS Enterprise.
Admiral N. Krishnan, the chief of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy, wrote in his book, ‘No Way But Surrender’ that he was afraid that the US will reach Chittagong. He mentions how they even thought of attacking USS Enterprise, in a do or die move, to slow it down.
On December 2nd week 1971, the US 7th Fleet’s Task Force, led by monstrous USS Enterprise arrived in the Bay of Bengal. The British fleet was arriving in the Arabian Sea. The world held its breath. But, unknown to Americans, the submerged Soviet submarines had overtaken them.
As USS Enterprise moved towards East Pakistan, the Soviet submarines surfaced without any warning. The Soviet subs were now standing between India and the US naval force.
The Americans were shocked. Admiral Gordon told the 7th American Fleet Commander: “Sir, we are too late. The Soviets are here!”
Both the USS and the British navy backed out and returned. Today, most Indians have forgotten about this colossal naval chess battle between the two superpowers in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian waters.