Foreign Citizens in Liberation War of Bangladesh

Foreign Citizens in Liberation War of Bangladesh

After reading this article you will gather a brief idea about –

1. History of Liberation war of Bangladesh

2. List of some foreign countries who helped in Liberation War of Bangladesh

3. List of some foreign friends who helped in Liberation War of Bangladesh.


Liberation War was not a blessing for us. We got our independence through lots of sacrifices from all classes of people in our country. It is the result of three million lives and so many uncountable things. Besides our indigenous freedom fighter, there was direct and indirect participation of many peace-loving citizens from all over the world in Bangladesh’s bloody liberation war.

The news of the genocide, torture and unilateral war of the unarmed Bangladeshis was delivered through their pen, someone by the camera, someone wrote poem, and someone sang songs to aware the people all over the world. Some foreign friends who raised their hand of friendship towards Bangladeshis during the War of Liberation are our topic of discussion here. During the nine months of blood-shedding battle which started on the 26th March of 1971, the roles of the foreign actors were very significant and it must be taken into consideration. India, the Soviet Union, China, USA were one of the major key players who had a direct stake in this war and their roles were quite different as in the field of International Relations, every state actor always do want to serve their own interest while taking any steps that can have a global impact.

Some Foreign Countries who raised their hand of friendship


India gave shelter to more than 1 million war refugees who lost everything during this war time and all they wanted to save their lives by crossing the border.

Indira Gandhi went to visit Moscow to get the support of the Soviet Union in the United Nations Security Council. India also gave Bangladesh the recognition as an Independent country on the 6th December of 1971.

India helped the freedom fighters of Bangladesh by training them up and also by providing them with the arms and ammunition during the entire time of war.


Soviet Union supported Bangladesh wholeheartedly and they used their veto power consecutively three times in the United Nations Security Council which made the way easier for Bangladesh to reach her ever desired goal, “Independence”.    

In some stages of this Liberation War, the Soviet Union even declared the war as the “NATIONAL WAR”.

The Liberation War of Bangladesh got international recognition and support because of the diplomatic initiatives taken by Soviet Union.


The role of China was very much questionable as they were trying to help Pakistan because of their self-interest to ensure their stronghold in South Asia which Pakistan could help them to get established.


The United States of America didn’t play any praise-worthy role during the Liberation War period as they did not want to make their bilateral relationship with Pakistan bad because of this issue.

The USA treated this war as the internal matter of Pakistan and they were secretly helping Pakistan financially and logistically.

The United States of America even sent their 7th Naval Fleet in the Indian Ocean to save Pakistan but that fleet could not get the scope to enter into the Bay of Bengal because the Soviet Union also sent two task forces for tackling the situation.

Some foreign Friends who raised their hand of friendship

Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, the prime minister of India during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.

She opened India's eastern borders allowing streams of refugees to take shelter.

Indira Gandhi travelled across the world to mobilize support for the troubled people of Bangladesh and appealed world leaders to intervene and pressurize Pakistan to stop its brutalities in East Pakistan.

On 6 December 1971, she announced in Parliament that India had accorded recognition to the Bangladesh Government.

Anthony Mascarenhas

Mascarenhas was the assistant editor at The Morning News in Karachi, was sent to East Pakistan by the government to promote the Pakistani propaganda.

He fled to London on 18 May with the collection of massacre images. On 13 June 1971, he published a 16 column (2-page) report titled "Genocide" in The Sunday Times of London. The world was stunned by the revelation made by the report.

Later, he published two books highlighting the brutality of Pakistan military during the 1971 independence movement of Bangladesh, titled: 'The Rape of Bangladesh' and 'Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood' the war.

JFR Jacob

Lieutenant General Jack Farj Rafael Jacob aka JFR Jacob was the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army's Eastern Command during 1971.On 6 December 1971, she announced in Parliament that India had accorded recognition to the Bangladesh Government.

JFR Jacob was the man who carried the historic "instrument of surrender" on 16 December 1971 and made the counterpart Pakistani Army' Eastern Commander Lieutenant General AAK Niazi to accept the conditions in 30 minutes.

William AS Ouderland

He was the only foreign national to be honored with the fourth highest gallantry award, the Bir Protik, by the Government of Bangladesh.

He worked as a secret intelligence agent for communicating the plans and actions of the occupation army.

With the help of his experience in the Second World War as a guerilla commando, he then became an active member of a guerilla branch of Sector 2. He provided regular training to the freedom fighters at different secret camps in Tongi, including the Bata Shoe Factory premises.

Simon Dring

Dring was 'The Daily Telegraph' reporter, when he was assigned to cover the tumultuous political situation in East Pakistan.

On 25th March 1971, when the Pakistan Army was trying to block world media from doing any news coverage, Dring hid himself at the Hotel Intercontinental for more than 32 hours, risking his life only to inform the world about the brutality.

Apart from his active participation in the direct war, he also gathered information on brutality and genocide, collected photographs of brutalities of the Pakistani military and send it to the world news media for creating public opinion in favor of the Liberation War.

Edward Kennedy

US Senator Edward Kennedy, known as Ted Kennedy, visited the Bangladeshi refugee camps in India as he didn’t get the visa to enter East Pakistan in times of liberation war.

Senator Edward Kennedy suggested the administration to put pressure in Pakistan to allow Red Cross International Committee representatives to meet Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, saying that genocide is taking place in East Pakistan.

George Harrison MBE

George Harrison, a celebrated name in the history of independent Bangladesh, was an English singer, songwriter, music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist of the Beatles.

On 1 August 1971, former Beatles guitarist George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar organized a pair of benefit concerts titled "The Concert for Bangladesh". The shows were held at 2:30 and 8:00 pm at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to raise international awareness and fund relief for the refugees of East Pakistan.

The concerts were attended by a total of forty thousand people approximately, and the initial gate receipts have risen close to the US $250,000 for Bangladesh relief, which was administered by UNICEF.

Sydney H Schanberg

Sydney H Schanberg was the first foreign journalists who break the news of genocide committed by the Pakistani army in West Pakistan to the world in 1971.

In June 1971, Schanberg filed several eyewitness accounts from the towns of East Pakistan for The New York Times. As a result, Pakistan expelled him from the country on 30th June 1971.

Sir William Mark Tully

Sir William Mark Tully was BBC's India correspondent in 1971.

During the war of 1971, when the news media controlled by the then Pakistani junta used to carry out government propaganda, Mark Tully's coverage of the war on BBC radio was the people's chief source of authentic information.

Andre Malraux

Andre Malraux is one of the dearest friends of Bangladesh who decided to join the Liberation War physically with the Mukti Bahini

He was given honorary citizenship by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, during his visit from 23 – 24 April, 1973

Allen Ginsberg

Irwin Allen Ginsberg, an American poet, composed his famous poem 'September on Jessore Road’ in September of 1971 that represented the heart-wrenching emotional journey of those nine long months of liberation war.

Ginsberg wrote the poem after visiting the refugee camps located in the bordering areas of Jessore of Bangladesh and Kolkata of India in mid-September, 1971. He recited the poetry at Saint George Church in New York on 20 November 1971 to draw the world's attention to the sufferings of Bangladeshi refugees.

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