AS AFTERNOON TURNED to evening on 16 December 1971—shortly after Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indian Army in East Pakistan—Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called a large meeting in the Cabinet Room, in the South Block of the Secretariat Building that housed her offices. Those present included the defence, foreign, finance and home ministers—all the senior members of the cabinet committee on security—as well as their secretaries, the chiefs of all three armed services, the head of the Research and Analysis Wing, and the cabinet secretary. Also in attendance were four of the prime minister’s closest advisers—PN Haksar, her principal secretary, PN Dhar, her secretary, G Parthasarathi, my father, then formally serving as the vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and myself, her science and technology adviser.
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