Instrument of Surrender (1971)

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The Instrument of Surrender (Bengali: আত্মসমর্পনের দলিল) was a written agreement that enabled the surrender of the Pakistan Armed Forces Eastern Command in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The surrender took place at the Ramna Race Course in Dacca on 16 December, 1971. Lieutenant-General A A K Niazi, Martial Law Adminisator of East Pakistan, surrendered to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, Joint Commander of the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces. Air Commodore A. K. Khandker, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, and Lieutenant General J F R Jacob of the Indian Eastern Command, acted as witnesses to the surrender. Thousands of people celebrated the surrender ceremony on the race course grounds, marking the liberation of the new nation and its capital, and the victory of the independence war.

Subsequently, around 93,000 Pakistani troops and officials were taken as prisoners-of-war by the Indian Army, the largest number of POWs since World War II. They were later repatriated in 1973 under the terms of the Delhi Agreement.[1]

Surrender ceremony[edit]

Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, Commanding Officer of Pakistan Army forces signing the instrument of surrender on 16 December 1971

Also present were Vice-Admiral Mohammad Shariff, commander of the Pakistani Naval Eastern Command and Air Vice-Marshal Patrick D. Callaghan of the Pakistan Air Force's Eastern Air Force Command, who signed the agreement. On behalf of Bangladesh, Air Commodore A. K. Khandker acted as witness to the surrender. Lieutenant General Jacob Rafael Jacob, Chief of Staff of the Indian Eastern Command, along with the other commanders of Indian naval and air forces, acted as witnesses on behalf of India. The signing of the document marked the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the creation of Bangla Desh (later reduced to a single word). Aurora accepted the surrender without a word, while the crowd on the race course started shouting Bengali nationalist slogans.[2]

Text of the Instrument[edit]

The text of the surrender is now a public property of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani governments and the text of the document can be seen on display in the National Museum in New Delhi. The text of the Instrument of Surrender document was as follows:[3][4]

The PAKISTAN Eastern Command agree to surrender all PAKISTAN Armed Forces in BANGLA DESH to Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA, General Officer Commanding in Chief of Indian and BANGLA DESH forces in the Eastern Theater. This surrender includes all PAKISTAN land, air and naval forces as also all para-military forces and civil armed forces. These forces will lay down their arms and surrender at the places where they are currently located to the nearest regular troops under the command of Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA.

The PAKISTAN Eastern Command shall come under the orders of Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA as soon as the instrument has been signed. Disobedience of orders will be regarded as a breach of the surrender terms and will be dealt with in accordance with the accepted laws and usages of war. The decision of Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA will be final, should any doubt arise as to the meaning of interpretation of the surrender terms.

Lieutenant JAGJIT SINGH AURORA gives a solemn assurance that personnel who surrender shall be treated with dignity and respect that soldiers are entitled to in accordance with provisions of the GENEVA Convention and guarantees the safety and well-being of all PAKISTAN military and para-military forces who surrender. Protection will be provided to foreign nationals, ethnic minorities and personnel of WEST PAKISTANI origin by the forces under the command of Lieutenant-General JAGJIT SINGH AURORA.

<signed> <signed>

General Officer Commanding in Chief
India and BANGLA DESH Forces in the
Eastern Theatre
16 December 1971

Martial Law Administrator Zone B and
Commander Eastern Command
16 December 1971

In literature[edit]

In Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children, the encounter between the two generals is shown in the chapter "Sam and the Tiger".



  1. ^ Levie, Howard S. "The Indo-Pakistani Agreement of August 28, 1973". Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan., 1974), pp. 95-97. American Journal of International Law. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Kuldip Nayar (3 February 1998). "Of betrayal and bungling". Indian Express. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  3. ^ [1] The Instrument of Surrender on Virtual Bangladesh History
  4. ^ SoP. "The Separation of East Pakistan". Story of Pakistan. Retrieved 20 July 2012.