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Prisoner of 1971 War AVM Pethiya Says Indo-Pak War won’t Lead to Any Solution

The PoWs were subjected to immense torture and were forced to sleep on the floor in the chilly weather of December, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Aditya Vikram Pethiya recalls. The excesses still fill the elderly officer with anguish.

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Updated:February 28, 2019, 11:49 PM IST
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Prisoner of 1971 War AVM Pethiya Says Indo-Pak War won’t Lead to Any Solution
Representative image (Reuters)
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Bhopal: As the whole country awaits the release of wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Aditya Vikram Pethiya, who himself was a prisoner of war (PoW) in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, says the overwhelming support to the armed forces has bolstered their morale but warns that war cannot be the solution to any problem.

Pethiya was member of the Indian Air Force fleet which had attacked Pakistan in 1971 but following a mishap, his jet crashed and he found himself in the enemy territory. Injured, Pethiya tried to pick himself up and ran but he was grounded once again after something hit him in the head from behind.

“There was no dialogue afterwards as sticks, punches and kicks rained on me, leaving me with numerous fractures and injuries,” recounts the retired IAF officer.

The PoWs were subjected to immense torture and were forced to sleep on the floor in the chilly weather of December, Pethiya recalls. The excesses still fill the elderly officer with anguish.

He says that after serving five months in Pakistan prison, he was released and landed in India under the Geneva Convention.

He stands behind armed forces for carrying out an aerial surgical strike, saying India never supports of any attack. “Every aggression was aimed at targeting the terror hubs across the LoC,” says the retired officer.

He says the overwhelming support extended to the armed forces has given a big boost to their confidence, but adds that war can’t be the solution to any problem. “Whatever money we could put into education, factories and businesses would be consumed by the arms and ammunition. Wars push back economies,” he says.

Asked what kind of impact the war could bring to both India and Pakistan, Pathiya says, “If you keep a healthy elephant hungry for two days, it would lose weight slightly. But what would happen to the one which is small in size and has hardly had anything to eat?” says the retired Air Vice Marshal. “Pakistan needs to understand that India is a global power and could be world’s number one economy in the years to come,” he adds.
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