|Part of Naval conflict of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965|
| State of Pakistan
|| Republic of India
|Commanders and leaders|
|Commodore S.M. Anwar||Rear Admiral K.P. Samson|
|25th Destroyer Squadron|
PNS Shah Jahan
PNS Tippu Sultan
(Ships were kept at bay)
|Casualties and losses|
|None||Partial physical damage to Dwarka.|
Operation Dwarka, also known as "Operation Somnath", was a naval operation commenced by the Pakistan Navy to attack the Indian coastal town of Dwarka on 7 September 1965. This was the first use of Pakistan Navy in any of the Indo-Pakistan Wars. It was one of the significant naval events of the 1965 Indo-Pak war, and Pakistan celebrates 8 September as "Victory Day" for Pakistan Navy.
As the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 broke out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, armies and air forces of both nations were involved in intense fighting in the Punjab region and in Kashmir. To relieve pressure on the southern front, Pakistan decided to use its navy in the war by launching a quick strike on Indian coast. The primary objective of the attack ostensibly was to destroy the radar station at Dwarka which Pakistani Naval intelligence believed had a Huff/Duff beacon to guide Indian bombers. Pakistani high command also hoped to divert the operations of the Indian Air Force away from the north.
The mission objectives of Pakistan Navy are listed below:
- To draw heavy enemy units out of Bombay for the submarine PNS Ghazi to attack.
- To destroy the radar installation at Dwarka.
- To lower Indian morale.
- To divert Indian Air Force effort away from the north.
On the night of 7 September, the Pakistan Navy launched its assault on Western Indian shores. Dwarka was chosen for its proximity (200 km from Karachi Port), its lower defences and historical relevance. The plan called for a fleet of 7 naval vessels of Pakistan to bomb the tiny town of Dwarka. It was aimed at luring the heavy ships anchored in Bombay into attacking the Pakistani ships. The intention was that the submarine PNS Ghazi lurking in the Arabian Sea would then engage and sink the Indian ships. Accordingly, a fleet of seven ships comprising PNS Babur, PNS Khaibar, PNS Badr, PNS Jahangir, PNS Alamgir, PNS Shah Jahan and PNS Tipu Sultan set sail for Dwarka and bombarded the town.
The warships harbored in Bombay were under refit and were unable to sortie, nor did PNS Ghazi encounter the active combatants on the West coast. The objective to divert the Indian Air Force attacking Pakistan's southern front worked as the Indian Air Force raids on the city of Karachi ceased, presumed by Pakistani sources to be due to lack of availability of the radar guidance to the IAF fighter jets, which was damaged in the attack.
The Indian Navy's official version of events states that, at around 2355 hours, the Pakistani vessels fired on Dwarka for more than 20 minutes. The ships fired around 50 shells each, which included 5.25 inch rounds fired by the Pakistani cruiser PNS Babur. The report adds that most shells fell between the temple and the railway station, which lay 3 km from the lighthouse. Some buildings were hit, with only the Railway Guest House suffering some minor damages and a cement factory of Associated Cement Company was also hit. Smoke from the damage was visible to the Pakistani warships approximately 20 kilometers away.
The radar installation was shelled during the bombardment but neither the radar was damaged nor were any casualties reported by Indian sources. A frigate INS Talwar was in nearby Okha port undergoing repairs and did not intervene. Hiranandani's history of the Indian Navy states that:
Next morning she (INS Talwar) was directed to send a team to Dwarka to assess the damage. The team found that most of the shells had fallen on the soft soil between the temple and the radio station and failed to explode. The air attack damaged a railway engine and destroyed a portion of a railway guesthouse.
A total of 40 unexploded shells were also recovered intact. Interestingly, the shells bore the mark "INDIAN ORDNANCE"; these were dated from the 1940s before the Partition of India into India and Pakistan.
Radio Pakistan, however, transmitted that Dwarka was badly damaged.
The following is the list of Commanding officers of the Operation Dwarka:
- Commodore S.M. Anwar, OTC - Officer Commanding of Operation Dwarka
- Captain MAK Lodhi - Officer commanding of PNS Babur, the destroyer.
- Captain A Hanif-Officer Commanding of PNS Khaibar, the destroyer.
- Commander IH Malik - Commanding officer of PNS Badr, the frigate.
- Commander KM Hussain - Commanding officer of PNS Jahangir, the cruiser.
- Commander Iqbal F. Quadir - Commanding officer of PNS Alamgir, the destoyer.
- Commander SZ Shamsie - Commanding officer of PNS Shah Jahan, the destroyer.
- Commander Amir Aslam - Commanding officer of PNS Tipu Sultan, the destroyer.
- Commander Karamat Rahman Niazi - Commanding officer of PNS Ghazi, the submarine.
Operation Dwarka was a significant naval operation of the 1965 war, considered by some as a nuisance raid or of little strategic value. The Ministry of Defence had issued written instructions which ordered the Indian Navy "not to proceed two hundred miles beyond Bombay nor North of the parallel of Porbander". The lack of response by the Indian Navy to the attack on Dwarka led to questions being asked in Indian parliament and was considered a humiliation by Indian citizens and Navy personnel and a challenge to be answered by others.:52 The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral B.S. Soman was restrained from retaliation for the Dwarka raid by the Defence Minister. Of the Indian Navy's 23 ships, ten were under refit in Bombay, including the Vikrant, the cruiser Delhi, three destroyers and two frigates. An Indian source explained this by saying that the Indian Government did not want to get into a naval conflict with Pakistan, but wished to restrict the war to a land-based conflict. The failure of INS Talwar to retaliate, then undergoing repairs to her condensors in Okha, has been lamented by Indian Vice Admiral N. Krishnan who said that no Government would blame a warship going into action, if attacked. PNS Ghazi continued to patrol Kachhh and Bombay coasts spotting aircraft positions when snorkeling.
The Dwarka raid is considered by Pakistani sources as being a prime reason for the Indian Navy's subsequent post-war modernization and expansion, with an increase in budget from Rs. 35 crores to Rs. 115 crores. The Dwarka raid, as per an Indian historian G. M Hiranandani, led to the procurement of missile boats by the Indian Navy from the Soviet Union for the Defense of Kutch. These were subsequently used by India in Operation Trident in the 1971 war.:326 However, he attributes the expansion of the Indian Navy in the period 1965 to 1975 to the post-1962 planned expansion of the Indian Navy with many ships being negotiated and purchased from the Soviet Union prior to the war.:8-11
Popular culture 
In 1998, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) financed and produced the dramatization of the operation named, "Operation Dwarka, 1965", which was based on this incident. The film was directed by Pakistani film director Qasim Jalali and it was written by Hameed Kashmiri.
See also 
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
- Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971
- PNS Ghazi
- Operation Trident
- Operation Python
- INS Khukri
- PNS Hangor
- Madan, Ramesh (Ex-Sgt, IAF). "The Shelling of Dwarka". Bharath Rakshak. Bharat-Rakshak.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Mohan, P. V. S. Jagan; Chopra, Samir (May 2005). The India-Pakistan air war of 1965. Manohar. p. 157. ISBN 978-81-7304-641-4. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Hiranandani, "Transition to triumph", pp 34-35. FOCIF sailed with his flagship, INS Mysore, and three escorts out of Bombay Harbour and remained on station without encountering any Pakistani naval vessels till 8 September when the Talwar, returning from Okha, joined her.
- Hiranandani, G. M. (January 2000). Transition to triumph: history of the Indian Navy, 1965-1975. Lancer Publishers. pp. 33–35. ISBN 978-1-897829-72-1. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- Kavic, Lorne J. (1967). India's quest for security: defence policies, 1947-1965. University of California Press. p. 190. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Working paper, Issue 192 , Australian National University. Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1989, isbn="0731508068, 9780731508068"
- Ghosh, Anjali (1 September 2009). India’s Foreign Policy. Pearson Education India. ISBN 978-81-317-1025-8. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Dittmer, Lowell (2005). South Asia's nuclear security dilemma: India, Pakistan, and China. M.E. Sharpe. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7656-1419-3. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Pradhan, R. D.; Chavan, Yashwantrao Balwantrao (1 January 2007). 1965 war, the inside story: Defence Minister Y.B. Chavan's diary of India-Pakistan war. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 117. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5. Retrieved 10 November 2011. The authors were the Defence Minister of India and his Private Secretary from 1962-65 (see pg xiii).
- Sardar FS Lodi, An Agosta Submarine for Pakistan
- Roy, Mihir K. (1995) pg. 84. "War in the Indian Ocean"
'But the Bombayites failed to understand the lack of success by the Indian fleet, especially with sirens wailing, Jamnagar attacked and Dwarka shelled. But nonetheless, the naval bombardment of Dwarka with the Indian fleet still preparing to sail was an affront to the sailors in white, who could not understand what was holding the fleet back.'
- Qadir, Iqbal, Vice Admiral (retd) (1998). "Pakistan and its three wars". www.defencejournal.com. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- Hiranandani, Vice Adm Gulab, IN (Retd) (Spring 2002). "The Indian End Of The Telescope — India and Its Navy". Naval War College Review LV (2). Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Hiranandani, "Transition to triumph", pp 34.Talwar encountering contamination of her boilers due to leakage of her condensors put in at Okha for temporary repairs.
- Roy, Mihir K. (1995) "War in the Indian Ocean", pp 84-85.
'As Vice Admiral N. Krishnan is supposed to have said. "One of our frigates Talwar was at Okha. It is unfortunate that she could not sail forth and seek battle. Even if there was a mandate against the Navy participating in the war, no Government could blame a warship going into action, if attacked. An affront to our national honour is no joke and we cannot laugh it away by saying 'All the Pakistani's did was to kill a cow'. Let us at least create a memorial to the 'unknown cow' who died with her boots on in a battle against the Pakistan Navy."'
- Roy, Mihir K. (1995). War in the Indian Ocean. Lancer Publishers. pp. 83–85. ISBN 978-1-897829-11-0. Retrieved 8 November 2011.