India recognized the Bangla Desh rebel government of East Pakistan today and reported its troops, with almost total air supremacy, were moving rapidly through East Pakistan in hopes of a quick victory.
India reported major victories in Southern Kashmir where it said a Pakistani tank force was defeated with destruction of 23 Pakistani tanks. India said its air force struck the harbor at Karachi again today and found the waterfront in flames.
Radio Pakistan reported Pakistan had captured up to 20 Indian border posts and carried out widespread air attacks against Indian military positions and airfields and reported victories in the Poonch sector of Western Kashmir.
Radio Pakistan said the country's air force and navy had shot down a total of 77 Indian aircraft since the war began on Friday. It reported attacks against 10 Indian bases during the night and said planes today attacked the Indian naval base at Okha, near the Rann of Kutch. Pakistani informants in Karachi said 71 civilians had been killed and 215 wounded in Indian air raids.
The Press Trust of India said antiaircraft guns went into action at Bombay's Santa Cruz Airport for about 20 minutes tonight. But an airport spokesman told UPI correspondent Pat Killen in New Delhi there had been no attack and that the airport was "quite safe."
Most of the victory claims came from India, especially in East Pakistan where it reported new bombings of Pakistani ports and said East Pakistan was now isolated from resupply by West Pakistan. The capital city of Dacca has been cut off from its supply routes, India reported.
Maj. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob, chief of staff of the Indian Eastern Command, which includes East Pakistan, told newsmen in Calcutta today his forces were moving very rapidly through East Pakistan and that the air force had gained almost total supremacy.
The Pakistanis have from 60,000 to 80,000 troops in East Pakistan with heavy concentrations at Jessore on the western border. Jacob said major Indian forces had driven to within a few thousand yards of Jessore itself.
Pakistan disputed most of the victory claims. Maj. Gen. Rao Farman Ali, adviser to the provincial governor in East Pakistan, told reporters In Dacca that Pakistan is in full control with -- exception of a few Indian salients.
The attacks at the Dacca airport caught about 10 British women and children who had just arrived to board the evacuation flight. They went through the attacks without injury.
The United Nations had asked for a truce to remove dependents.
Members of the Indian Parliament broke into cheers and began thumping their desks before Mrs. Gandhi could finish her statement announcing formal recognition of the rebels.
Informants said the rebels are expected to form "national government," with representatives from several political parties.
The rebel president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was arrested on the first night of the civil war and is reportedly on trial for treason in West Pakistan.
Indian military spokesmen said the main East Pakistan port of Chittagong was in flames and was cut off from reinforcements on the north. The second largest port, Chalna, was attacked by Indian planes later.
Foreign ships were warned to stay out of East Pakistani ports or face the danger of Indian attacks.
The U.S. State Department said Indian planes bombed and strafed one U.S. merchant ship -- the Buckeye State -- off Chittagong and intercepted a second ship -- the Expediter -- which was escorted toward the port of Madras. The United States formally protested the incidents.
Indian spokesmen said about 6,000 Pakistani troops supported by about 45 tanks attacked Indian positions at Devamandalia in the Ankhur section of Kashmir. The action was described as a "major tank battle" and the spokesman said more attacks were expected.
Indians reported one Pakistani B57 jet bomber was shot down last night near the West Pakistan border, raising the total number of Pakistani aircraft destroyed to 40. The Indians said they have lost 17 planes.