Invasion of Goa

Invasion of Goa

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Invasion of Goa
date=18 December 1961ndash 19 December 1961
place=Portuguese India and surrounding sea and airspace
casus=After Indian Independence from the United Kingdom, Portuguese India remained Portuguese colonies. They included the provinces of Goa, Daman & Diu, as well as the Anjidiv Islands on the west coast of the Indian Peninsula. India claimed the Portuguese territories by military means after the refusal of the Portuguese authorities to leave.
result=Decisive Indian military victory and incorporation of territories into the Indian Union


commander1=Prime-minister António de Oliveira Salazar
Governor of Portuguese India Manuel António Vassalo e Silva
commander2=Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Major General K.P. Candeth
Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto
strength1= 3,300 infantry
4 frigates
strength2= 30,000 infantry
1 Light Aircraft Carrier
1 destroyer
8 frigates
2 Cruisers
4 Minesweepers
20 Canberras
6 Vampires
6 Toofanis
6 Hunters
4 Mysteres
casualties1= 30 KIA
57 WIA
3306 POW
casualties2= 22 KIA
51 WIA

The Invasion of Goa, also known as the Liberation of Goa or Portuguese-Indian War, codenamed Operation Vijay by the Government of India, was the Indian armed forces action that ended Portuguese rule in its Indian enclaves in 1961. The armed action - which involved air, sea and land strikes for over 36 hours, ended 451 years of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.


Goa, Daman, Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli had been Portuguese colonies since the 16th century. After having won liberation from the British Empire in 1947, the Republic of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru entered into talks with the government of Portugal, led by dictator Oliveira Salazar, for the peaceful hand over of all colonial enclaves held by the Portuguese on the Indian subcontinent.

Diplomatic efforts towards this goal by the Indian government failed due to the anti-decolonization policies of the Portuguese government, leading to enmity between the two countries. India attempted to use its position in the Non-Aligned Movement to gain support for its demands, while Portugal, as a founding member of NATO attempted to seek support amongst western nations, as well as with India's rivals, Pakistan and China.

In Goa, popular support had been built up against Portuguese colonial rule by civil leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia who advocated the use of non-violent Gandhian techniques to oppose the government Goa's Freedom Movement By: Lambert Mascarenhas ] . A major popular protest against colonial rule on the 18th of June 1946 was suppressed by the PortugueseFact|date=June 2008. Similarly, in 1954, the Portuguese used force to put down an attempt by non-violent Satyagrahi activists to march into Goa, and followed up with a purge of supporters of independence, many of whom were jailed. This action led to the closure of the Indian consulate in the city of Panjim in Goa in 1955 and the imposition of economic sanctions against Portuguese held territories.

In addition to non violent protests, several armed groups such as the Azad Gomantak Dal (The Free Goa Party) conducted guerilla and terrorist operations against the Portuguese in Goa [ [ A Liberation From Lies By Prabhakar Sinari ] ] [,M1] .

On 24 July 1954 an organisation called "The United Front of Goans" took control of the enclave of Dadra. The remaining territory of Nagar Haveli was liberated by the Azad Gomantak Dal on 2nd August 1954. [ [ Goa's Freedom Movement] . These teretories existed as a de-facto independent state, managed by an independent local body; till the final liberatation of the remaining Portuguese enclaves.

In 1957, The Indian army deployed anti aircraft batteries near the Daman and Diu airfields and threatened to shoot down any aircraft that strayed into Indian airspace whilst taking off or landing at the newly built airports at these locations. [ [ Dabolim and TAIP ] ]

By October 1961, the decision was taken to use military force to oust the Portuguese from their Indian enclaves, and accordingly military resources were allocated for Operation Vijay.

Events preceding the hostilities

Attack on the "Sabarmati"

On November 24, 1961, the "Sabarmati", a passenger boat passing between the Portuguese held island of Anjidiv and the Indian port of Kochi, was fired upon by Portuguese ground troops, resulting in injuries to the chief engineer of the boat, as well as the death of a passenger. The action was precipitated by Portuguese fears that the boat carried a military landing team intent on storming the island. A Portuguese investigation into the matter revealed that the boat had also been fired upon a week earlier—on November 17—when it accidentally strayed into Portuguese waters. [ GoaBooks2: Remembering the Fall of Portuguese India in 1961 ] ] The incidents lent themselves to foster widespread public support in India for military action in Goa.

Indian military build-up

On receiving the go-ahead for military action and the mandate of the capture of all occupied territories for the Indian Government, Lt. Gen. Chaudhari of India's Southern Army fielded the 17th Infantry Division and the 50th Para Brigade commanded by Major General K.P. Candeth . The assault on the enclave of Daman was assigned to the 1st Maratha Light Infantry while the operations in Diu were assigned to the 20th Rajput and 4th Madras battalions. [ The Liberation of Goa by LN Subramanyam] Meanwhile, The Commander in Chief of India's Western Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto, was appointed as the commander of all air resources assigned to the operations in Goa. Air resources for the assault on Goa were concentrated in the bases at Pune and Sambre. [ The Liberation of Goa by Jagan Pillarisetti]

The Indian navy deployed two warships—the INS "Rajput", an 'R' Class destroyer, and the INS "Kirpan", a Blackwood class anti-submarine frigate— off the coast of Goa. The actual attack on Goa was delegated to four task groups: a Surface Action Group comprising five ships: "Mysore", "Trishul", "Betwa", "Beas" and "Cauvery"; a Carrier Group of 5 ships: "Delhi", "Kuthar", "Kirpan", "Khukri" and "Rajput" centred around the light aircraft carrier "Vikrant"; a Mine Sweeping Group consisting of mine sweepers including "Karwar", "Kakinada", "Cannonore" and "Bimilipatan" and a Support Group which consisted of the "Dharini". The Liberation of Goa by Lieutenant Commander V.S. Kore]

International efforts at peace

Portugal’s prime-minister, Oliveira Salazar, alarmed by India’s hinted threats at armed action against its presence in Goa, first asked the United Kingdom to mediate, then protested through Brazil and eventually asked the UN Security Council to intervene. Meanwhile Mexico offered the Indian Government its influence in Latin America to bring pressure on the Portuguese to relieve tensions.

Meanwhile, India’s defense minister, Krishna Menon, and head of India’s UN delegation stated in no uncertain terms that India had not “abjured the use of force” in Goa, and went on to link Goa to Angola, condemning Portugal’s anti decolonization policies in both cases. Indian forces were, at the time, serving in Congo as part of a UN operation and had been involved in the fighting. [Rotter, Rotter. " [,M1 Comrades at Odds: The United States and India, 1947-1964] ", Cornell University Press, 2000; ISBN 080148460X]

American diplomatic initiatives to prevent an armed conflict in India had to balance its relationship with India, as well as its NATO alliance with Portugal, as well as dispel the idea that such initiatives were being made under pressure from the Portuguese Government. Another concern was to avoid any NATO involvement in the issue.

Whereas the initial thrust was to convince the Indians of the harm that military action could do their image as a peace loving nation, the Americans stopped short of suggesting self determination for the people of Goa. This, they realized, would be needed to apply to all other Portuguese holdings worldwide, and would damage US–Portugal relations.

In the weeks leading up to the invasion of Goa, American ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith twice requested the Indian Government to resolve the issue peacefully through mediation and consensus rather than armed conflict. On both occasions, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru postponed the invasion of Goa and expressed his willingness to come to the negotiating table, on the condition that Portugal first announce its intentions to withdraw from Goa. This condition was however rejected by the Portuguese as contrary to the spirit of a negotiation. [ [ Transcripts of communications between the US State Department and the US Embassy in New Delhi] ]

President John F. Kennedy, in a message to Nehru, argued that if India used force against Goa, this, along with its military presence in Congo would make an otherwise Gandhian nation look belligerent.

On December 8, C.S. Jha, India's delegate at the United Nations Security Council expressed India's disregard for international pressure by stating: "(The invasion of Goa) is a question of getting rid of the last vestiges of colonialism in India. That is a matter of faith with us. Whatever anyone else may think, Charter or no Charter, Council or no Council, that is our basic faith which we cannot afford to give up at any cost." []

Eventually on the 10th of December, nine days prior to the invasion, Nehru stated to the press that “Continuance of Goa under Portuguese rule is an impossibility". America’s response was to warn India that if and when India’s armed action in Goa was brought to the UN security council, it could expect no support from the US delegation.

The Portuguese Mandate

Portuguese Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, sent the following message to Governor General Vassalo e Silva in Goa on 14th December, in which he ordered the Portuguese forces in Goa to fight till the last man.

"Radio 816 / Lisbon 14-Dec.1961: You understand the bitterness with which I send you this message. It is horrible to think that this may mean total sacrifice, but I believe that sacrifice is the only way for us to keep up to the highest traditions and provide service to the future of the Nation. Do not expect the possibility of truce or of Portuguese prisoners, as there will be no surrender rendered because I feel that our soldiers and sailors can be either victorious or dead. These words could, by their seriousness, be directed only to a soldier of higher duties fully prepared to fulfill them. God will not allow you to be the last Governor of the State of India."

Portuguese Military Preparations

In accordance with Prime Minister Salazar’s instructions to resist the Indian invasion, the Portuguese administration in Goa prepared for war.

Four Portuguese Navy frigates—the "Afonso de Albuquerque", [ [ Portuguese Navy 1875 ] ] the "Bartolomeu Dias", the "João de Lisboa" and the "Gonçalves Zarco"—were deployed to patrol the waters of the three enclaves of Goa, Daman and Diu. These were each armed with four 120mm guns capable of two shots per minute, and four automatic rapid firing guns. [] In addition to these frigates, there were five merchant navy ships in Goa, as well as several patrol boats (Lancha de Fiscalização). Eventually only the "Afonso de Albuquerque" saw action against Indian naval units, the other ships having fled before commencement of hostilities.

Portuguese ground defenses consisted of approximately 3,300 European infantry troops and about 900 native soldiers, many of whom had little military training and were utilized primarily for security and anti-terrorist operations. In addition there were about 2,000 police officers. The strategy employed to resist Indian invasion was centred around the "Plano Sentinela" which called for the concentration of all defenses in the port town of Mormugao, and the "Plano de Barragens" which envisaged the demolishing of all bridges and links to delay the invading army, as well as the mining of approach roads and beaches. These plans were however unviable due to the desperate shortage of mines and ammunition. The Portuguese air presence in Goa was limited to the presence of two transport aircraft belonging to the Portuguese international airline TAIP - Transportes Aéreos da Índia Portuguesa: a Lockheed Constellation and a DC-6 aircraft - in addition to other small aircraft. The Indians believed that the Portuguese had a squadron of F-86 Sabres stationed at Dabolim Airport—which later turned out to be false intelligence. Air defense was limited to a few obsolete anti aircraft guns manned by two artillery units who had been smuggled into Goa disguised as soccer teams. [ Francisco Cabral Couth, O Fim do Estado Português da Índia, Lisboa, Tribuna, s.d, ISBN.10:972-8799-53-5] "Time" carried a report on the conflict where it mentioned that if Goa was attacked, Great Britain was duty bound by a 600 year old treaty to assist the Portuguese with "troops, archers, slingers, galleys sufficiently armed for war." [,9171,827139,00.html ""Intolerable" Goa"] , "Time", December 22, 1961] However, no offer was made by any nation to provide military assistance for the defense of Goa.

Portuguese civilian evacuation

The military buildup created panic amongst Europeans in Goa, who were desperate to evacuate their families before the commencement of hostilities. On December 9, the vessel "India" arrived at Goa's Mormugao port en route to Lisbon from Timor. Despite orders from the Portuguese government in Lisbon not to allow anyone to embark on this vessel, the Governor General of Goa, Manuel Vassalo e Silva, allowed 700 Portuguese civilians of European origin to board the ship and flee Goa. The ship had had capacity for only 380 passengers, and was filled to its limits, with refugees occupying even the ship's toilets. [ Francisco Cabral Couto, O Fim do Estado Português da Índia, Lisboa, Tribuna, s.d, ISBN.10:972-8799-53-5] On arranging this evacuation of women and children, Vassalo e Silva remarked to the press, "If necessary, we will die here." Evacuation of civilians and military officials continued by air even after the commencement of Indian air strikes.

Indian reconnaissance operations

Indian reconnaissance operations had commenced on December 1, when two Indian Leopard class frigates, the INS "Betwa" and the INS "Beas", undertook linear patrolling of the Goan coast at a distance of 13 kilometres. By December 8, the Indian Air Force had commenced baiting missions and fly-bys to lure out Portuguese air defences and fighters, but to no avail.

The Indian light aircraft carrier INS "Vikrant" was deployed 75 miles off the coast of Goa to counter any air offensive from the Portuguese Air Force, as well as to deter any foreign military intervention.


The air war

The mandate handed to Air Vice Marshal Erlic Pinto by the Indian Air Command was listed out as follows:

# The destruction of Goa’s lone airfield in Dabolim, without causing damage to the terminal building and other airport facilities.
# Destruction of the wireless station at Bambolim, Goa.
# Denial of airfields at Daman and Diu, which were, however, not to be attacked without prior permission.
# Support to advancing ground troops.

The Goa raids

The first Indian raid was conducted on the 18th of December on the Dabolim Airfield and was in the form of 12 Canberra aircraft led by Wing Commander N.B. Menon. The raid resulted in the dropping of 63,000 pounds of explosives within minutes, rendering the runway unusable. In line with the mandate given by the Air Command, structures and facilities at the airfield were left undamaged.

The second Indian raid was conducted on the same target by eight Canberra aircraft led by Wing Commander Surinder Singh, which again left the airport’s terminal and other buildings untouched.

Two transport aircraft - a Lockheed Constellation and a DC-6 belonging to the Portuguese international airline TAIP - which were parked on the apron were supposed to be spared per the given mandate. However the Constellation suffered some damage during the raids, rendering it unusable.

A third Indian raid comprised six Hawker Hunters and was targeted at the wireless station at Bambolim which was successfully attacked with a combination of rockets and gun cannon ammunition.

On the night of the 18th December, the Portuguese used the undamaged TAIP DC-6 to evacuate the families of some government and military officials as well as the gold reserves of Goa’s Banco Nacional Ultramarino, in spite of the heavily damaged runway. The aircraft, piloted by TAP's Major Solano de Almeida, used the cover of night and a very low altitude to break through Indian aerial patrols and escape to Karachi, Pakistan. [ [ Dabolim and TAIP ] ]

The mandate to support ground troops was served by the No. 45 squadron of de Havilland Vampires which patrolled the sector but did not receive any requests into action. In an incident of friendly fire, two Vampires fired rockets into the positions of the 2nd Sikh Light Infantry injuring two soldiers, while elsewhere, an Indian Harvard was attacked by friendly ground troops and sustained nominal damage.

The Daman and Diu raids

In the Daman sector, Indian Mysteres flew 14 sorties, continuously harassing the positions of the Portuguese artillery.

In the Diu Sector, the Indian commander in charge of air resources based at the Jamnagar base lost contact with his HQ, and ordered an all out attack on the airfield here in spite of the mandate prohibiting this unless prior permission was received. An initial raid at 1100 hours of four Toofani aircraft each armed with 1000 pounds of munitions, was called off after the leader mistook white sheets hanging near the airfield for surrender flags. A second raid of two Toofanis similarly armed attacked the air field runways at 1400 hours and this was followed closely by a third raid of four Toofanis which destroyed the control tower, wireless station and the meteorological station. As per prior plans, the Indian Air Command ordered a double wave attack of 16 Canberra aircraft from the Pune air base, but called this off because friendly ground troops were near the target areas. The Portuguese forces trapped in Diu tried to escape the siege in a fast patrol boat, but were intercepted by four Indian Vampire aircraft and sunk.

In the absence of any Portuguese air presence, Portuguese ground based antiaircraft units attempted to offer resistance to the Indian raids, but were overwhelmed and quickly silenced, leaving complete air superiority to the Indians.

In later years, commentators have maintained that India's intense air strikes against the airfields were uncalled-for, since none of the targeted airports had any military capabilities and did not cater to any military aircraft. As such, the airfields were defenceless civilian targets. [ [ Dabolim and TAIP] ] To this day, the Indian navy continues to control the Dabolim Airport, although this is now used as a civilian airport as well.

The naval war

The Storming of Anjidiv Island

The Indian Naval Command assigned the task of securing the island of Anjidiv to the INS "Trishul" and the INS "Mysore". Under covering fire from the ships, Indian marines under the command of Lt. Arun Auditto stormed the island at 1425 hours on the 18th of December, and engaged the Portuguese defenders. The Portuguese ceased fire, and raised a white flag (it is believed in some quarters that the "white flag" was in fact bedsheets drying in the windows, which the Indian army mistook for a white flag of surrender), thus luring the Indian marines out of their cover, before opening fire again. Seven marines were killed in this action, and nineteen, including two officers, sustained injuries. The Portuguese defenses were eventually overpowered after a fierce barrage of shells from the Indian ships and the island was secured by the Indians at 1400 hours on the next day.

Naval Battle at Mormugao harbour

On the morning of December 18, the Portuguese frigate NRP "Afonso de Albuquerque" found itself anchored off Mormugao Harbour. Three other Portuguese frigates had already fled the waters before being challenged by the Indian Navy, leaving the "Afonso" as Goa's sole naval defense. Besides engaging Indian naval units, the "Afonso" was also tasked with providing a coastal artillery battery for the defense of the harbour and adjoining beaches, as well as providing vital radio communications with Lisbon after on-shore radio facilities had been destroyed in Indian air-strikes.

At 0900 hours, three Indian frigates led by the INS "Betwa" took up position off the Harbour, awaiting orders to attack the "Afonso" and secure sea access to the port. At 1200 hours, upon receiving its clearance from HQ, the INS "Betwa", accompanied by the INS "Beas" entered the harbour and opened fire on the "Afonso" with their 4.5” guns, which in turn returned fire with its 120mm guns.

Besides being outnumbered by the Indians, the "Afonso" was also at a severe disadvantage since it was in a confined position that restricted its maneuverability, and also because its four 120mm guns were capable of a mere two rounds a minute, as compared to the 60 rounds per minute cadence of the guns aboard the Indian frigates. A few minutes into the exchange of fire, the "Afonso" took a direct hit in its control tower, killing its radio officer and severely injuring its Commander, Captain António da Cunha Aragão, after which the First Officer Pinto da Cruz took command of the vessel.

At 1235, faced with the destruction of the ships propulsion system under continuous fire from the Indian frigates, a white flag of surrender was hoisted. The flag, however, coiled itself around the mast and as a result was not spotted by the Indians who continued their barrage. Eventually at 1250 hours, after having fired nearly 400 rounds at the Indians, and having taken severe damage, the order was given to initiate the abandonment of the ship. Under heavy fire, directed both at the ship as well as at the coast, the crew of the "Afonso" along with their injured commander made their way ashore, after which the commander was transferred by car to medical facilities at Panjim. The rest of the unit was taken prisoner by the Indians at 1300 hours the following day.

As a gesture of goodwill, the commanders of the INS "Betwa" and the INS "Beas" later visited Captain Aragão as he lay recuperating in bed at Panjim.

The "Afonso" lay grounded at the beach near Dona Paula, until 1962 when it was towed to Bombay and sold for scrap. Parts of the ship were recovered and are on display at the Naval Museum in Bombay. []


The Action at Diu

At 0400 hours, a Portuguese patrol boat "Vega" encountered an Indian cruiser around 12 miles off the coast of Diu, and was attacked with heavy machine gun fire. Taking no casualties and minimal damage, the boat managed to withdraw to the port at Diu.

At 0700 hours, news was received that the Indian invasion had commenced, and the commander of the "Vega", 2nd Lt Carmo Oliveira was ordered to sail out and fight till the last round of ammunition. At 0730 hours the crew of the "Vega" spotted two Indian aircraft on patrol missions and opened fire on them with the 20mm gun on board the boat. In retaliation the Indian aircraft attacked the "Vega" twice, killing the captain and the gunner and forcing the rest of the crew to abandon the boat and swim ashore, where they were later taken prisoner.

Action at Daman

Like the Vega in Diu, the patrol boat "Antares" at Daman under the command of 2nd Lt. Abreu Brito was ordered to sail out and fight the imminent Indian invasion. The boat stayed in position from 0700 hours on December 18 and remained a mute witness to repeated air strikes followed by ground invasion until 1920 hours when it lost all communications with land.

With all information pointing to total occupation of all Portuguese enclaves in India, Lt. Brito attempted to save his crew and boat by escaping to Karachi in Pakistan. The boat traversed 530 miles, escaping detection by Indian forces to arrive at Karachi at 2000 hours on the 20th of December.

The Ground War

The target of the Indian ground attack in Goa was the securing of the capital town of Panjim as well as the harbour of Mormugao and the airport at Dabolim, and was a task assigned to the 17th Infantry Division under Major Gen. KP Candeth, and the 50 Para Brigade - one of the Indian army’s most elite airborne units - under Brigadier Sagat Singh.

The attack on Goa: the northern prong

Although the 50 Para Brigade - also called the Pegasus Brigade - was charged with merely assisting the main thrust conducted by the 17th Infantry, its units moved rapidly across minefields, roadblocks and four riverine obstacles to be the first to reach Panjim. [ BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR: Volume 4(3) ] ]

On the morning of December 18, the 50 Para Brigade moved into Goa in three columns.

# The eastern column comprised the 2nd Para Maratha advanced via the town of Ponda in central Goa.
# The central column consisting of the 1st Para Punjab advanced via the village of Banastari.
# The western column - the main thrust of the attack - comprised the 2nd Sikh Light Infantry as well as an armored division which crossed the border at 0630 hours in the morning and advanced along Tivim.

The western column, facing no resistance, reached the town of Betim at 1700 hours, just a 500 metre wide river crossing away from Panjim, the capital town. In the absence of orders, the units set camp at Betim and proceeded to secure areas up and down the riverfront.

The order to cross the river was received on the morning of the 19th of December, upon which two rifle companies advanced on Panjim at 0730 hours and secured the town without facing any resistance. On orders from Brigadier Sagat Singh, the troops entering Panjim removed their steel helmets and donned the Parachute Regiment’s maroon berets. As the men marched into the town, they were welcomed as liberators by the locals.

The advance from the east

Meanwhile, in the east, the 63rd Indian Infantry Brigade advanced in two columns. The right column comprising the 2nd Bihar and the left column consisting of the 3rd Sikh linked up at the border town of Mollem and then advanced upon the town of Ponda taking separate routes. By night fall, the 2nd Bihar had reached the town of Candeapur, while the 3rd Sikh had reached Darbondara. Although neither column had encountered any resistance, their further progress was hampered because all bridges spanning the river had been destroyed.

The rear battalion comprised the 4th Sikh Infantry, which reached Candeapur in the small hours of the 19th of December, and not to be bogged down by the absence of the bridge, waded across the river in chest high water, to reach Margão - the administrative centre of Southern Goa - by 1200 hours. From here, the column advanced on the harbour of Mormugão. En route to this target, the column encountered armed resistance from a unit of the Portuguese Army at the village of Verna, where it was joined by the 2nd Bihar. The 500 strong Portuguese unit at Verna surrendered at 1530 hours after a fierce resistance, and the 4th Sikh then proceeded to Mormugão and Dabolim Airport, where the main body of the Portuguese army awaited the Indians.

A decoy attack was staged south of Margão by the 4th Rajput company to mislead the Portuguese. This column overcame minefields, roadblocks and demolished bridges, and eventually went on to help secure the town of Margão.

The expected defense of Mormugao never occurred, and the Portuguese troops holed up at the harbour surrendered without a fight in a formal ceremony at 2030 hours on December the 19th.

The attack on Daman

The advance on the enclave of Daman was conducted by the 1st Maratha Light Infantry in a pre dawn operation on the 18th of December. By 1700 hours, in the absence of any resistance, the Indians had managed to occupy most of the territory, with the exception of the airfield where the Portuguese were making their last stand.

The Indians assaulted the airfield the next morning upon which the Portuguese surrendered at 1100 hours without a fight. Approximately 600 Portuguese soldiers were taken prisoner.

The attack on Diu

Diu was attacked on December 18 from the north west along Kob Forte by two companies of the 20th Rajput and from the north east along Amdepur by the Rajput B Company with the capture of the Diu Airfield being the primary objective.

Whereas the 20th Rajput was bogged down in their assault by the well entrenched machine gun positions of the Portuguese, the B Company was able to advance under heavy artillery cover and take the town of Gogal. The constant barrage of artillery fire as well as continuous air strikes eventually led to the surrender of the Portuguese garrison later that day. The Indians suffered 4 dead and 14 wounded, while the Portuguese suffered 10 dead and 2 wounded.

On December 19, the 4th Madras C Company landed on the island of Panikot off Diu and accepted the surrender of a small troop of 13 Portuguese soldiers there.

Portuguese Surrender

By the evening December 19, most of Goa had been taken over by advancing Indian infantry forces, and a large party of more than two thousand Portuguese soldiers had taken position at the port town of Vasco Da Gama. Per the Portuguese strategy code named "‘Plano Sentinela’" the defending forces were to make their last stand at the harbour, holding out against the Indians until Portuguese naval reinforcements could arrive. Orders delivered from the Portuguese President called for a scorched earth policy - that Goa was to be destroyed before it was given up to the Indians. [ [ The Church in Goa ] ] CommentatorsWho|date=October 2008 have argued that Salazar wanted to sacrifice his troops in Goa, in order to attract international condemnation of India’s invasion of Goa.Fact|date=October 2008

Despite these , Governor General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva took stock of the numerical superiority of the Indian troops, as well as the food and ammunition supplies in stock and took the decision to offer surrender. He later described his orders to destroy Goa as "um sacrificio inútil" (a useless sacrifice).

In a communication to all Portuguese forces under his command, he stated, "“Having considered the defense of the Peninsula of Mormugao… from aerial, naval and ground fire of the enemy and … having considered the difference between the forces and the resources… the situation does not allow myself to proceed with the fight without great sacrifice of the lives of the inhabitants of Vasco da Gama, I have decided with … my patriotism well present, to get in touch with the enemy … I order all my forces to cease-fire.”" [ Peaceful and quickly over ] ]

The official Portuguese surrender was conducted in a formal ceremony held at 2030 hours on the 19th of December when Governor General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva signed the instrument of surrender bringing to an end 451 years of Portuguese Rule in Goa. In all, approximately 3,306 Portuguese servicemen surrendered and were taken prisoner by the Indians.

Upon the surrender of the Portuguese governor general, Goa, Daman and Diu was declared a federally administered Union Territory placed directly under the President of India, and Maj. Gen. K. P. Candeth was appointed as its military governor.

Portuguese Actions Post-Hostilities

On December 18, even as Indian forces were rolling into Goa, The Portuguese Government requested the convening of a special emergency session of the United Nations Security Council. At the meeting, called to consider the Indian invasion of Portuguese territories in Goa, Daman and Diu, Adlai Stevenson, the US representative to the UN, criticized the Indian military action. He then submitted a draft resolution that called for a cease fire, a withdrawal of all Indian forces from Goa, and the resumption of negotiations. This resolution was co-sponsored by France, UK and Turkey, but failed after the Soviet Union, India’s long time cold war ally, exercised its veto. [ [ Documents 1-100 ] ]

Upon receiving news of the fall of Goa, the Portuguese government formally severed all diplomatic links with India and refused to recognize the incorporation of the seized territories into the Indian Republic. An offer of Portuguese citizenship was instead made to all Goan natives who wished to emigrate to Portugal than remain under Indian rule. This was amended in 2006 to include only those who had been born before 19 December 1961. Later, in the show of defiance, Salazar's regime placed a reward of US$10,000 for the capture of Brigadier Sagat Singh, the commander of the maroon berets of India’s parachute regiment who were the first troops to enter Panjim, Goa’s capital. [ [ The Sunday Tribune - Books ] ]

Relations between India and portugal thawed only in 1974, when, following a military coup d'etat and the fall of the fascist regime in Lisbon, Goa was finally recognised as part of India, and steps were taken to re-establish diplomatic relations with India. In 1992, Portuguese President Mário Soares became the first Portuguese head of state to visit Goa after its annexation by India. This followed Indian President R. Venkataraman’s visit to Portugal in 1990.

Internship and Repatriation of POWs

Following their surrender, the Portuguese soldiers were interned by the Indian Army at their own military camps and were kept under harsh conditions which included sleeping on cement floors and hard manual labour . By January 1962, most POWs had been transferred to the newly established detainees camp at Ponda where conditions were substantially better .

In one incident, recounted by Lt. Francisco Cabral Couto (now retired general), an attempt was made by some of the prisoners to escape the camp. The attempt was foiled, and the officers in charge of the escapees were threatened with court martial and execution by the Indians. This situation was defused by the timely intervention by a Jesuit military chaplain.

By May 1962, most of the POWs had been repatriated -- being first flown to Karachi, and then sent off to Lisbon by ship. On arrival in Lisbon, returning Portuguese servicemen were taken into custody by military police without access to their families who had arrived to receive them. Following intense questioning and interrogations, the officers were charged with direct insubordination on having refused to comply with directives not to surrender to the Indians. On March 22 1963, a list of convicted men was released who were dishonorably dismissed from service.

Ex- governor Manuel António Vassalo e Silva was greeted with a hostile reception when he returned to Portugal. He was subsequently court martialed for failing to follow orders and was sent into exile. He returned to Portugal only in 1974, after the fall of the fascist regime, and was given back his military status. He was later able to conduct a state visit to Goa, where he was given a warm reception. [ [ Dossier Goa - A Recusa Do Sacrifício Inútil Summary ] ]

International reaction to the capture of Goa

:"``The casualties were minimum. I am in favour of all wars being like the war between India and Portugal -- peaceful and quickly over"!" - J. K. Galbraith, former US ambassador to India

United States of America

The United States official reaction to the invasion of Goa was to condemn the armed action of the Indian government and demand that all Indian forces be unconditionally withdrawn from Goan soil.

To express its displeasure with the Indian action in Goa, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee attempted, over the objections of President Kennedy, to cut the 1962 foreign aid appropriation to India by 25 percent. []

Referring to the perception, especially in the West, that the India had previously been lecturing the world about the virtues of nonviolence, US President John F. Kennedy declared, “People were saying, the preacher has been caught coming out of the brothel.”

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union)

The head of state of Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, who was touring India at the time of the invasion, made several speeches applauding the Indian action. In a farewell message, he urged Indians to ignore western indignation as it came "from those who are accustomed to strangle the peoples striving for independence... and from those who enrich themselves from colonialist plunder". Nikita Krushchev, the de facto Soviet leader, telegraphed Nehru stating that there was "unanimous acclaim" from every Soviet citizen for "Friendly India". The USSR had earlier vetoed a UN security council resolution condemning the Indian invasion of Goa.


In an official statement, released much after the action in Goa, and which neither condemned nor applauded the invasion, Peking stressed the support of the Chinese government for the struggle of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America against "imperialist colonialism". China was at the time enjoying cordial relations with India, although it was to invade Aksai Chin only months later.


The Japanese Government initially reserved its official comment on the annexation of Goa, over concern about Japanese business investments and contracts in Goa's lucrative iron-ore industry. A communication was later released mildly condemning the armed action of the Indians and calling for a peaceful end to conflicts.


In a letter to the US President on January 2 1962, the Pakistani President General Ayub Khan stated: “My Dear President, The forcible taking of Goa by India has demonstrated what we in Pakistan have never had any illusions about--that India would not hesitate to attack if it were in her interest to do so and if she felt that the other side was too weak to resist.”


Many African nations - themselves former European colonies - reacted with delight to the capture of Goa by the Indians. Radio Ghana termed it as the “Liberation of Goa” and went on to state that the people of Ghana would “long for the day when our downtrodden brethren in Angola and other Portuguese territories in Africa are liberated. ” Adelino Gwambe, the leader of the Mozambique National Democratic Union stated: “We fully support the use of force against Portuguese butchers.” [ [,M1] ]

The Catholic Church

In December 1961, just days prior to the annexation of Goa by Indian troops, the Vatican appointed Dom José Pedro da Silva, a Portuguese priest as the auxiliary bishop of Goa, and granted him the right to succeed as the Patriarch of the Church in Goa. Although the Vatican did not voice its reaction to the annexation of Goa, it delayed the appointment of a native head of the Goan Church until the inauguration of the Vatican Council II in Rome, when Msgr Francisco Xavier da Piedade Rebelo was consecrated as the Bishop of Goa. Simultaneously, the Church in Goa was placed under the patronage of the Cardinal of India and its links with the Church in Portugal were severed.


See also

* Goa
* List of aircraft of the Indian Air Force
* Portuguese India
* Portuguese Indian Rupia
* Portuguese Indian Escudo

External links

* [ Operation Vijay: The Ground War] .
* [ Operation Vijay: The Air War] .
* [ operation Vijay: The Naval War] .
* [,9171,827139,00.html] Time Magazine Coverage of the conflict
* [] Photo gallery of the Liberation of Goa
* [
* [
* [

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