19th December – A peek into Goa’s fight for freedom

Finally, on 19th December 1961, India conquered Goa from the Portuguese and Goa became a part of India.  Therefore Goa celebrates 19th December as Liberation Day.

How it all began

Well to begin with, when India negotiated independence from the British, it was only limited to British territory in India and not the one controlled by the French and Portuguese.

When India did gain independence in 1947, efforts were soon initiated to bring the French and Portuguese territories under the Indian control. Fortunately, the French agreed to hand over its possessions in India peacefully in 1954.(Information Credit: The Portuguese, however, refused to give up their control of Goa.


Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came under severe criticism for his non-violent stance against the Portugues from Afro-Asian countries that were under Portugues Rule at that time. Finally, at the end of the Belgrade Conference in mid-September of 1961, a strong Afro-Asian solidarity emerged that linked freedom of Goa to the liberation of other countries under Portuguese rule.

Operation Vijay

Owing to the pressure of the Afro-Asian solidarity, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took a stand to free other Indian territories that were under Portuguese rule. Operation Vijay was born. All three sections of the Indian Armed Forces played a vital role in the attack. The air attack was led by Air Vice Marshall A Pinto do Rosario of the Indian Airforce in Hawker Hunter aircraft.  Indian Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant along with frigates INS Betwa and INS Beas downed the only Portuguese warship Afonso de Albuquerque. The Indian Army outnumbered the Portuguese and they were able to make headway from the east, north, and south. Their main target was Panjim.  Swimming across from Banastarim some troops landed at Panaji while others arrived from Betim at around 7.30 am. At 10 A.M. the Indian national flag was hoisted by major General K.P. Candeth, who was heading the attack. Finally at 7.30 pm on December 19th, 1961 the document of surrender was signed by General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva.

Major General K.P. Candeth was appointed military Governor of Goa. Within 40 hours of the start of Operation Vijay, centuries of foreign domination in Goa came to an end.

Goa celebrates Liberation Day with pomp and gaiety Pic. Credit: Google wishes all its patrons and associates a Happy Liberation Day!

Information credit: Goaholidayguide

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