Just because you have the best navy in the world, doesn’t mean that you should openly seek combat. thats Why did US 7th fleet turn back when confronted by the Soviet Navy in the 1971 India-Pakistan war? Americans boast about being the best in the world.
The American’s were wary that any provocative action would start a full blown war with the Soviet Union. Tensions between the US and the Soviet Union were already high as this confrontation occurred right in the middle of the Cold War. With both countries stockpiling nuclear weapons, there could be no winner if war was to occur and both would suffer heavily. This is why although preparedness was at an all time high during the Cold War, neither country wanted to make a move that would trigger war.
Number of nuclear warheads owned by the US and the USSR during the Cold War
In 1971, the US sympathized with Pakistan for many reasons. Two of which were that Pakistan belonged to the American led military pact CENTO and SEATO, and that the US believed India to be a pro Soviet nation even though we were non-aligned.
Indira Gandhi visited Nixon on November 4th 1971
This is why when Indira Gandhi visited Nixon on November 4th 1971, to gather support and sympathy for the Bengalis in East Pakistan, Nixon straight forwardly told her that a new war in the subcontinent was out of the question. As India had decided to go to war, and Indira Gandhi failed to get American support and sympathy for the Bengalis who were being tortured in East Pakistan, she finally took a hard move and signed a treaty of peace, friendship, and cooperation with the Soviet Union.
America then started covertly assisting Pakistan. However America’s proxy involvement in the war was becoming clear and they realised that if the Soviet Union were to join it, a lot of destruction could occur. The Americans then tried to introduce a sanction in the UN Security Council calling for a cease-fire and withdrawal of Indian troops, but this resolution was vetoed out by the Soviet Union. The war ended with the surrender of the Pakistani Army as they missed American help due to the quick action of the Russians, and this resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
As to why Nixon and America continually supported Pakistan during this endeavor, it was simply because they considered Pakistan to be their ally and India to be a pro USSR adversary.
On December 10, 1971
The Soviet Intelligence reported that the English operative connection has come nearer to territorial India, water led by an aircraft carrier “Eagle”. For helping friendly India, Soviet government directed a group of ships under the command of counter-admiral V. Kruglyakov.
the former (1970-1975) Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet) was ordered by the Chief Commander to track the British Navy’s advancement, He positioned their battleships in the Bay of Bengal and watched for the British carrier “Eagle”.
But Soviet Union didn’t have enough force to resist if they encountered the British Carrier. Therefore, to support the existing Soviet fleet in the Bay of Bengal, Soviet cruisers, destroyers and nuclear submarines, equipped with anti ship missiles, were sent from Vladivostok.
In reaction English Navy retreated and went South to Madagascar.
Soon the news of American carrier Enterprise and USS Tripoli’s advancement towards Indian water came.
V. Kruglyakov obtained the order from the commander-in-chief not to allow the advancement of the American fleet to the military bases of India
Soviet Union encircled them and aimed the missiles at the ‘Enterprise’. And blocked their way and didn’t allow them to head anywhere, neither to Karachi, nor to Chittagong or Dhaka.
The Soviet ships had small range rockets (only upto 300 KM). Therefore, to hold the opponent under the range, commanders ran risks of going as near to the enemy as possible.
pictured by the American spy satellites
The Chief Commander ordered to lift the submarines and bring them to the surface so that it can be pictured by the American spy satellites or can be seen by the American Navy! It was done to demonstrate, that Soviet Union had all the needed things in Indian Ocean, including the nuclear submarines. they recognized it. Presence of Russian nuclear submarines and a big collection of destroyers made Americans to return without doing anything. Soviet Union had also threatened China that, if they ever opened a front against India on its border, they will receive a tough response from North.