GHAZI THE PROWLER OF THE DEEP

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Pakistan Navy submarine Ghazi in late sixties and early seventies was the symbol of an irretrievable depth of fear for the Indian Navy. The submarine remained a nightmare for the Indian fleet for years. In the early phase of 1971 war, Indian aircraft carrier Vikrant was forced to find shelter nearly a 1000 miles away from its home port Vishakhapatnam. Indian Navy was well aware of the prowess of Ghazi that had earlier wrecked their operational plans in 1965 War. Vice Admiral Krishnan, the Commander of Indian Eastern Naval Command, was in no position to afford keeping his centre of gravity open to Ghazis attack, so he moved it deep down South. It was a terrible misfortune for the submarine that Vikrant wasnt in the area! Politico-military situation in East Pakistan compelled Pakistani military commanders to recalibrate their options. Internal strife, coupled with Indias active support to Bengali separatists, required necessary measures by both political and military leaders in Pakistan. Moreover, as part of defence of the east lies in the west strategy, the military leadership must have argued for releasing pressure on
the East by doing something in the West or at sea. According to Pakistani military calculus, it was no wonder that after decapitating our Air Force in the East, India would blockade East Pakistan, primarily through INS Vikrant, for
a decisive blow. Indians must have estimated that with absolutely no road link, and the sea routes cut, Pakistan would be in no position to continue the hostilities and would bow down to the Indian demands. The only naval vessel that could keep Indias major operational strategy of bringing INS Vikrant into the theatre, at bay, was PNS/M Ghazi. If Ghazi could bottle up the Indian fleet in Vishakhapatnam port and strike INS Vikrant, the outcome of war would enormously tilt towards Pakistan this could have been thought by the Pakistani military leadership during those days of November 1971. PNS Ghazi was a Tench Class ex US Navy submarine with the name USS Diablo. The
submarine was commissioned in the US Navy on 31 March 1945, and served mainly on the US side of the Atlantic and Caribbean. USS Diablo was decommissioned and decommissioned as PNS/M GHAZI on 1 Jun 1964 in Pakistan Navy. Ghazis induction made Pakistan Navy the only navy in the region to operate submarines. This prowler of the deep made Indian Navy grope in the dark during 1965 war for possible solutions of dealing with her and the Indians found none! After having won laurels in 1965, Ghazi the dauntless spreader of fear in the Indian hearts, was called for another daring act in 1971. On 14 November 1971, Ghazi was assigned a Top Secret mission and the Commanding
Officer of the boat, Commander Zafar Mohammad Khan, was instructed to open the mission package midway between Karachi and Vishakhapatnam. Ghazi sailed with mines loaded in some of its torpedo tubes. The sailors
might have known what they would be doing but where and when; it rested only with the commander of the ship. This, operationally, was a very challenging mission i.e., sailing of a subsurface vessel in those days of 1970s
nearly 2000 miles away from home port with such daring task. But, as the valiant sons of this great nation, the submariners took the challenge unhesitatingly, unconditionally and indubitably!