Operation Polo

Operation Polo

News: September 13, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Polo, a significant military action undertaken by the Indian Army in 1948 to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad.

What was Operation Polo?
• Operation Polo was the code name for the police action against the Princely State of Hyderabad in September 1948 by the newly independent Republic of India. The Indian Armed Forces invaded the Nizamruled princely state, annexing it into the Indian Union.

Who was the Nizam?
• By 1948 almost all the princely states had acceded to either India or Pakistan. One major exception was that of Hyderabad, where the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, a Muslim ruler who presided over a largely Hindu population, chose independence and hoped to maintain this with an irregular army (Razakars).

What challenges did the Nizam face?
• The Nizam was also beset by the Telangana rebellion, which he was unable to crush. In November 1947, Hyderabad signed a standstill agreement with the Dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for the stationing of Indian troops in the state.
• The Nizam’s power had weakened because of the Telangana Rebellion and the rise of a radical militia known as the Razakars whom he could not put down.

When was Instrument of Accession signed with India?
• India invaded Hyderabad State in September 1948, following a crippling economic blockade, and multiple attempts at destabilizing the state through railway disruptions, bombing of government buildings, and raids on border villages.
• After defeating Razakars, the Nizam signed an instrument of accession, joining India.

What was role of Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel?
• As the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel was instrumental in deciding to undertake a military operation to annex Hyderabad.
• In the first week of September 1948, Patel called for a high-level meeting with the Indian Army to explore ways to march troops into Hyderabad and take control as a form of 'police action'.
• Patel was also compelled to use coercion by launching ‘Operation Polo’ to liberate and integrate Hyderabad after the Nizam of Hyderabad entertained false hopes of either joining Pakistan or remaining independent.

Who lead the Operation?
• Major General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, the General Officer Commanding of 1 Armoured Division, led the Indian forces.
• On September 18, Major General Chaudhuri entered Hyderabad, and Major General El Edroos surrendered to him.
• Major General Chaudhuri was subsequently appointed as the Military Governor of Hyderabad.

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