1971. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in East Pakistan has just won an electoral mandate to become the prime minister of Pakistan. Accustomed to treating the eastern wing of the country as a colony, the ruling disposition in West Pakistan is not pleased, and launches a genocide against the residents of East Pakistan, flooding India with lakhs of refugees. With the violence in East Pakistan reaching a crescendo, the Indian government is faced with a difficult option: remain a mute spectator to the savagery on its eastern borders, or take action and go to war against its western neighbour. Thus was born Naval Commando Operation (X) - comprising Indian navy officers and divers, eight deserters from a Pakistani submarine and a ragtag bunch of Bengali youth fleeing the genocide - one of India's largest clandestine operations, meant to destabilize the West Pakistani efforts to bring East Pakistan to its knees. Revealed for the very first time, here is the explosive authentic account of the guerrilla operation that went for the maritime jugular of Pakistan, and facilitated the birth of Bangladesh.
Captain MNR Samant is a recipient of India's second-highest gallantry award, the Maha Vir Chakra, for conspicuous gallantry in the face of enemy fire during the 1971 India-Pakistan War. Sandeep Unnithan is an executive editor with India Today where he writes on security-related issues. He is the author of Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11