Pakistan angry with the blockade
The Indian Navy had set up a blockade in the Bay of Bengal to isolate East Pakistan. The blockade was led by the Indian Navy’s Eastern Command and warship INS Vikrant was deployed. Pakistan’s blood boiled due to this blockade and it decided to send its best submarine INS Ghazi.
On 3 December 1971, PNS Ghazi arrived at Visakhapatnam port and announced her arrival with a loud blast. This blast was so strong that the glasses of the surrounding buildings were broken. People had come out of their homes due to the fear of the earthquake. Retired Indian Army Lt. General JFR Jacob wrote in his book ‘Surrender at Dhaka’ that on December 4, Vice Admiral Krishnan told him over phone that some fishermen had found Ghazi’s remains. Admiral Krishnan was then the chief of the Eastern Naval Command.
Ghazi’s two objectives
Pakistan had sent Ghazi only to drown Vikrant. Ghazi was actually an American submarine and its name was USS Diablo. America had given it to Pakistan in the year 1963. Ghazi was sent to India with two objectives. The first was to sink Vikrant and the second was to lay landmines on the east coast of India. Without the Ghazi, the Pakistan Navy would not have been able to influence the Indian Navy’s operations in East Pakistan. It was a dangerous decision even for him to send Ghazi. It was an old submarine and in such a situation, the decision to send it to the enemy’s land was incomprehensible to many. In addition, Ghazi was facing frequent equipment failure issues and was poorly managed at Chittagong. PNS Ghazi was still quietly released from Karachi port on 14 November 1971.
old ship helped
Vice Admiral Krishnan prepared the mission to destroy Ghazi with INS Rajput. You would be surprised to know that INS Rajput had also become old and it had come to Visakhapatnam to retire. INS Rajput disguised itself as Vikrant to the enemy and heavy wireless traffic was generated. The Indian Navy deliberately sent an unclassified signal in the form of a private telegram and breached the security cordon. This telegram was from a naval officer stationed on Vikrant, inquiring how his mother’s health was now. On November 23, Ghazi started searching for Vikrant. The Ghazi started from Chennai which was Madras at that time and reached late after 10 days.
Captain of Rajput got orders
Vice Admiral Krishnan took Lt. Called on Commander Inder Singh who was the Commanding Officer of INS Rajput. Take. Commander Inder Singh was informed about all the information. He was told that a Pakistani submarine had been sighted off Ceylon and that it was most likely to reach either Visakhapatnam or Chennai. Krishnan had made it clear that Rajput, once refueled, would have to leave the port and stop all guidance aids. He ordered the Captain to use Vikrant’s own call sign and signal.
Vikrant reached Andaman
While INS Vikrant was sent somewhere close to the Andaman Islands. INS Rajput left on 2nd December and on 3rd December she again set sail with a pilot. At the same time i.e. on the midnight of 3rd and 4th December Rajput left the harbor after getting all clear, a thought came to the Captain’s mind. They thought what would happen if the Pakistani submarine was outside the port and if the torpedoes were unloaded? Rajput’s engines were stopped only after this thought. In the midst of all this, Ghazi was engaged in searching for INS Vikrant.
The work of installing landmines near Visakhapatnam was done. Ghazi had placed himself in such a position that he could not be detected. The situation had become more difficult due to the blackout and all navigation being off. INS Rajput gradually increased her speed and came to the outskirts. At this very moment Ghazi was detected by the high speed destroyer. She went into deeper water.
And the submarine Ghazi sank
Captain of INS Rajput noticed that at the time Ghazi went into deep water, at the same time a strong wave of water rose upwards. Ghazi had completely fallen to the bottom of the sea. It caught fire and exploded where landmines and torpedoes were lying. It is also believed that the blast triggered one of the mines which were being kept in readiness near the torpedo tube. This was the Indian Navy’s version. The Indian Navy had said that the submarine was sunk by the destroyer INS Rajput. At the same time, the Pakistan Navy claims that its submarine was sunk due to internal explosion.
The mystery of Ghazi still exists
Even today the mystery of Ghazi is buried in the sea of Visakhapatnam. This submarine is present at a distance of about 1.5 miles i.e. 2 kilometers from the port. This place is marked on navigational maps so that other ships do not collide with its wreck. In the year 2003, the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy investigated the wreckage of this submarine and the pictures taken from the underwater camera were also tested. Ghazi’s wreck lies at 17° of the backwaters of the harbour. A team of 10 divers was deployed to examine the wreck on 10 December 2003. They found the front part of this submarine in the water.