1971 : How Ghazi Actually sank?

PNS Ghazi, erstwhile USS Diablo (meaning Satan in Spanish)!

Yes for most of you who don’t know, PNS Ghazi was an American fast-attack Tench Class Submarine that served US from 1945-63 and was given to Pakistan on a four year lease and later sold to Pakistan.

With 14 Mach-14 torpedoes, on 04 Sep 1964, it was received and named PNS Ghazi (meaning Holiest warrior)

This was the time when Americans overtly assisted Pakistan in all its endeavours against India.


So when the war broke out and the East Pakistan was no more accessible, Ghazi was sent to locate and destroy Vikrant, Pakistan’s biggest nightmare, that had the potential to bring the whole nation on its knees.

However, the Vikrant‘s finest hour came as it played a pivotal role in the 1971 Bangladesh war in spite of a crack in its boiler and was considered such a prized catch by the Pakistanis that they sent their submarine Ghazi all the way to the Bay of Bengal to drop mines outside Visakhapatnam harbour and sink the aircraft carrier off the harbour.

Untitled-2.jpgGhazi being unable to locate Vikrant around Vishakhapatnam commenced laying mines on the night of 3rd Dec 1971 when Pakistan signaled the commencement of hostilities.

Meanwhile the intelligence confirmed at the Maritime Operations Room in Vizag came as follows:

first came a message of a probable Submarine,

then a Pakistani submarine,

and the last message was what the Indian Navy feared.

It was The Ghazi that had travelled all the way from Karachi to Vishakhapatnam in search of Vikrant.

On the night of 3rd Dec 1971, an explosion was reported by INS Rajput which launched two depth charges on the Ghazi, that was on a steep dive to escape Rajput.

Pakistan’s version of the story speaks of one of the mines exploding while the Ghazi was laying them. It was only in Feb 1972 that Pakistan actually admitted of this event.

While the diving operations in 2003 by Indian Navy revealed that an internal explosion had sunk the submarine proving India’s version of INS Rajput (Destroyer Ship) letting two depth chargers down which exploded and triggered an internal explosion and sunk the Ghazi.

The diving operations in 2003 also brought to the surface six bodies of Pakistani Sailors : one holding a spanner tightly in his fist and another sailor with a poignant letter in his pocket he had written to his fiance in Urdu. The six bodies were given due ceremonial funeral by Indian Navy.

It may remain debatable how it sank, the Diablo (later Ghazi) perished, like the Satan was condemned to Hell. The Indian Navy’s ingenuity and deceptive planning didn’t only save the INS Vikrant (which carried an air raid three days later at Chittagong) but also killed a underwater beast.







Unnithan, Sandeep (26 January 2004). “New pictures of 1971 war Pak submarine Ghazi renew debate on cause behind blast on vessel”. India Today, 2003. India Today.

“Rediff On The NeT: End of an era: INS Vikrant’s final farewell”. Rediff.com



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