Talking high about the soldiers who sacrificed their life for the defence of the Motherland has been a custom ceremoniously observed quite often. Recently we paid glowing tributes to such martyrs. We remembered Brig Usman who carved his name in Indian history by refusing Pakistani offer of their top rank in Army, and, instead, accepting martyrdom while fighting Pakistani invaders in Kashmir. We remembered Capt Manoj Pande, the war hero of Kargil, who has been given, posthumously, the Param Veer Chakra. Likewise, we fondly remember a galaxy of our soldiers who made supreme sacrifice in order to protect us from the enemy. How can the patriotic Indians forget the bloodshed of our beloved and most honoured soldiers such as Maha Veer Brig. Rajendra Singh, 24 year old Param Veer Major Som Nath Sharma, Air Commodore Mehar Singh who played the instrumental role in defending Ladakh from Pak invaders by landing his Aircraft, first time in history, on the then most rugged airfield of Leh, on May 24, 1948? How can any India-lover forget Major General Thimaiya who carried his tanks up to the snow clad Zozila Pass situated at the height of 11578 feet? It was the November 1, 1948 when he performed the miracle of destroying 25 bunkers of Pak intruders with those tanks. The intruders got panicky, and our troops were quite well geared to retrieve the PoK from Pakistan.
On December31, 1948 our politicians gave a blow to the morale of our brave soldiers by ordering the ill famed unilateral ceasefire. The sense of victory was deliberately converted into a dispute that has prolonged so far. The bloodshed of our soldiers went in vain.
One can imagine the degree of anguish and shock Shri Gopalaswamy, the Indian representative at UNO, would have received when, while arguing in UNO that whole Kashmir belongs to India, he got the news that the government of India had accepted the proposal of referendum in the Indian state of J&K.
About 40 per cent part of the state was allowed to remain under occupation of Pakistan. This part is the perennial fountain of terrorism that haunts the rest of India. The14 month war with Pakistan (October 22, 1947 to December 31, 1948) was won by our soldiers, but lost by our politicians, to be precise, by the Congress party dominated by Sri Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Let us have a cursory view of how the blood of soldiers has been wasted during the wars since Independence. Table below illustrates:
There are many other occasions when the nation failed to get due benefit in return to the loss of soldiers. During 1987-89 the IPKF in Sri Lanka fought the LTTE and lost 1157 soldiers. 2065 were wounded. The LTTE vengeance claimed Rajiv Gandhi'slife. The Operation Rakshak, since 1989, has claimed more than 867 soldiers? life. More than 2665 wounded. Siachen, since 1984, has claimed more than 650, more than 10,000 wounded. Kargil, in 1999, took more than 300 soldiers? life…..About 500 were wounded.
The most pathetic and pitiable fact that causes heartburning to a common tax payer is that our soldiers are meant to fight on their own land. Our government, unfortunately, seems to have soft corner for the invaders who are allowed to run well funded terrorist camps designed to ruin India.
PoWs in any country are not supposed to be tortured in terms of the 1929 Geneva convention. After the World War-II, when it was discovered that POWs in Germany were tortured, the culprits were convicted and punished. USA in Iraq did the same. What have we done to ensure adequate punishment to the Pakistanis who, in 1999, tortured and killed Indian POWs? Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja was imprisoned and shot dead by Pakistanis. Flt Lt Nachiketa, a POW, was subjected to immense physical and mental torture. Humanity would be ashamed to know the minute details of the most inhuman treatment meted out to the Indian POWs named Lt Saurabh Kalia, Sep Arjun Lal, Sep Banwarilal, Sep Bhikaram, Sep Moolaram, and Sep Naresh Singh. On June 9, 1999 their mutilated bodies were returned to India by Pakistan. To us it was simply another incident.
Quite relevant here is a recent case of a small country called Israel. Its population is about 1/100th of Indian population. On June 25, 2006 Palestinians attacked on an army post on the Gaza-Israel border and seized a 19 year old Corporal named Gilad Shalit. What did Israel do? It gave a shattering blow to the invader by bombing on Palestinian Interior Ministry office and the Gaza office of the Hamas Prime Minister, ratcheting up the pressure to rescue the soldier. Obviously, Israel knows and honours blood of her soldiers.
India must follow Israel if it loves honour and independence. The big question remains un-answered: Is the blood of our soldiers cheaper than water?
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