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BATTLE OF BOYRA

The Battle of Boyra, on 22 November 1971, was an aerial interception battle that was fought between the Indian Air Force and intruding Pakistani Air Force jets that had crossed into Indian Airspace. The Pakistani Army was engaged in combat against the invading Mukti Bahini (Bengali Guerrilla fighters) and a Battalion size detachment of the Indian Army in the Battle of Garibpur as part of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Pakistani ground forces requested air cover and close air support from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The PAF aircraft, while providing support to the Pakistani ground units, ended up crossing the Indian border. A detachment of two Folland Gnats and two MiG-21 was moved to Dum Dum (Kolkata Airport) from its parent base at Kalaikunda, near Kharagpur, over 100 km to the Southwest, to intercept the Pakistan Air Force aircraft. The Detachment was commanded by Flt Lt Roy Andrew Massey.

This battle is significant as it was the first engagement between the Air Forces of India and Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. It is seen as a culmination of the Battle of Garibpur in which the Mitro Bahini (The alliance of Mukti Bahini and Indian Armed Forces was named as Mitro Bahini meaning Allied Forces in Bengali) at Battalion strength successfully invaded and captured area along the Garibpur. Both sides suffered casualties during the battle. This battle also took place before the formal start of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The Battle of Boyra is named after the Boyra Salient, a feature which dominates the Garibpur area, and technically it is the Battle Over Boyra since it was an aerial battle.

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