Deciphering Goa’s Annexation: Operation Vijay and Historical Context

  • Goa’s liberation: On December 19, 1961, India successfully seized Goa, bringing an end to years of Portuguese colonial control.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of failing to assist Goan satyagrahis and postponing military action.

A Historical Overview of Goa’s Colonisation

  • Portuguese Rule: Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque established Goa as a Portuguese colony in 1510.
  • Long Colonial Encounter: For more than four centuries, Goa was at the centre of regional and global power battles, resulting in a distinct Goan identity.
  • Nationalist feeling: During the early twentieth century, nationalist feeling against Portuguese rule rose, paralleling India’s anti-British agitation.

Beginning of the Freedom Movement

  • Goan Nationalism: Tristao de Braganza Cunha, hailed as the father of Goan nationalism, founded the Goa National Congress in 1928.
  • Lohia’s Influence: In 1946, Ram Manohar Lohia’s rally in Goa galvanized the freedom movement, advocating civil liberties and integration with India.
  • Armed Resistance: Groups like the Azad Gomantak Dal (AGD) advocated for an armed struggle for liberation.
  • The start of the Freedom Movement
  • Tristao de Braganza Cunha, known as the “Father of Goan Nationalism,” formed the Goa National Congress in 1928.
  • Lohia’s Impact: Ram Manohar Lohia’s demonstration in Goa in 1946 galvanised the freedom movement, promoting civil freedoms and Indian unification.
  • Armed Resistance: Organisations such as the Azad Gomantak Dal (AGD) campaigned for an armed struggle for independence.

Goa’s Annexation: Recognition and Legal Status

  • Recognition by the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of India upheld the annexation, ruling that the law of occupation did not apply.
  • Portugal’s Recognition: Through a retroactive treaty, Portugal recognised Indian sovereignty over Goa in 1974.
  • International Law: Forceful annexations after the UN Charter are forbidden under jus cogens, although Goa’s annexation is an exception.

Why did Goa remain under Portuguese rule after 1947?

  • Nehru’s Peace Image: To maintain his global peace leader image, Nehru avoided military action.
  • The Aftermath of Partition: The agony of Partition and the Indo-Pak conflict diverted India’s attention.
  • Concerns regarding internationalisation: There were concerns about internationalising the issue.
  • Lack of Internal Demand: Gandhi argued that more groundwork was required to unite Goa’s different political views.

Nehru’s Dilemma and Military Action Delay

  • Nehru prioritised India’s international position and exhausted diplomatic possibilities.
  • NATO Strategy for Portugal: Goa was reclassified by Portugal in order to be protected by NATO.
  • Indigenous Liberation Movements: Nehru juggled diplomatic efforts with support for indigenous liberation movements.

Factors Contributing to the 1961 Military Offensive 

  • Portuguese Aggression: Following the 1955 shooting on Satyagraha, India severed ties with Portugal.
  • India’s Decolonization Leadership: India’s participation in global anti-colonial movements increased pressure on Goa to be liberated.
  • Criticism from African Nations: African criticism during a 1961 symposium emphasised the need to eliminate Portuguese colonialism.
  • Decisive Military Action: These elements resulted in Operation Vijay, a two-day military campaign that liberated Goa.

@the end

  • The end of Portuguese colonialism in India was signified by the annexation.
  • Historical Importance: The liberation of Goa remains a watershed moment in India’s struggle against colonialism and the union of its territory.
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.