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Goa Liberation Day


President tweeted her greetings to the nation on December 19, marking Goa Liberation Day, which is celebrated annually to mark the success of ‘Operation Vijay’ undertaken by the Indian armed forces to defeat Portuguese colonial forces and liberate Goa in 1961.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. History of Goa’s colonisation by European powers
  2. How was independence achieved?
  3. Operation Vijay

History of Goa’s colonisation by European powers

  • The Portuguese colonial presence in Goa began in 1510, when Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur king with the help of a local ally, Timayya, and subsequently established a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa).
  • Over the following centuries, the Portuguese fought frequent battles with the Marathas and the Deccan sultanates.
  • During the Napoleonic Wars, Goa was briefly occupied by the British between 1812 and 1815.
  • In 1843, the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa.
  • Goa was Portugal’s most prized possession in India and the biggest territory in Estado da India Portuguesa or the Portuguese empire in India.
  • Portuguese colonial rule also saw the advent and growth of Christianity in Goa.
  • Over time, the Portuguese lost most of the territories in the Estado but retained Goa until well after India itself had thrown off the yoke of the British Raj.

How was independence achieved?

  • Post-1947, Portugal refused to negotiate with independent India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian enclaves.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was keen that Goa should be integrated by diplomatic means.
  • After Portugal became part of the US-led Western military alliance NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in 1949, Goa too became part of the anti-Soviet alliance by extension.
  • Fearing a collective Western response to a possible attack on Goa, the Indian government continued to lay stress on diplomacy.
  • In his 1955 Independence Day speech, Nehru was critical of the satyagraha movement in Goa.
  • However, the Indian government reacted sharply to an incident of firing on satyagrahis, and snapped ties with Portugal.
  • Scholars have pointed out that as India aggressively championed the Non-Aligned Movement, decolonisation, and anti-imperialism as pillars of its policy, the continuation of colonial rule in Portugal became increasingly unsustainable.
Operation Vijay
  • The Indian government finally declared that Goa should join India “either with full peace or with full use of force”.
  • December 18 and 19, 1961 saw a full-fledged military operation termed ‘Operation Vijay’, which was carried out with little resistance and an instrument of surrender was signed, leading to Goa’s annexation by India.

-Source: Indian Express

June 2024