India-Pak Tension: Captured IAF Pilot Abhinandan Reminds The Nation Of Nachiketa
**Bhubaneswar:** After tensions escalated between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, Ministry of External Affairs informed that an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot is “missing in action”. Soon after Pakistan claimed that an Indian pilot is in their custody, a video was released from the other side of LoC showing a blindfolded man claiming that he is IAF’s Wing Commander Abhinandan.
While one video shows that Abhinandan was harassed by an angry mob there, in another video, he is sipping tea and thanking the Pak army for their gentlemanly behavior. Indian authorities have also not commented on these two videos yet.
This capture has reminded the country of flight lieutenant K Nachiketa, who was taken prisoner by Pakistan on May 27, 1999. This is how his story unfolded:
1. Lieutenant Nachiketa was assigned with the duty of hitting enemy targets at altitudes over 17,000 feet with deadly 80 mm rockets.
2. During the Kargil War, Nachiketa’s MiG-27 aircraft suffered from an engine flame-out and he ejected from the carrier.
3. Reportedly, he landed on snow and was soon surrounded by Pakistani soldiers.
4. He was captured by Pakistani Northern Infantry and was subjected to brutal thrashing. He said in an interview, “They probably wanted to kill me.”
5. “Fortunately, a mature senior officer intervened, realised the situation and ordered his men to back off. He was able to control them, which was a big effort because they were very aggressive at that stage,” Nachiketa continued.
6. In the same war, Squadron leader Ajay Ahuja, Nachiketa’s colleague was killed by the enemy when a missile struck him in Pakistan.
7. Note the Geneva Convention here: The rules seek to protect people in times of armed conflict. These people include the sick and wounded of armed forces on the field, wounded, sick, and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians.
8. Nachiketa’s custody was in violation of Geneva Convention. So, India started mounting international pressure on Pakistan for the release of K Nachiketa.
9. To establish peace, Pakistan handed Nachiketa over to the Red Cross after eight days. Nachiketa spent the night at the residence of Air Commodore Jaiswal and next morning, he was driven across the Wagah border to India.
10. He was greeted by President K R Narayanan and Prime Minister Vajpayee as a hero.
We simply hope Abhinandan meets a similar fate.