The whole nation is praying for Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who was captured by Pakistan Army on February 27, 2019. He was on an operation when his jet fighter was shot down by Pak Army, the plane drifted and entered Pakistan border. His plane got crashed and he ejected himself and survived the attack but unfortunately got captured.

India wants his immediate release as per Geneva Conventions. Do you know in 1999 India suffered the same setback when one of its pilots named Kambampati Nachiketa got captured by the Pakistan Army? He was first and the only prisoner of war of the 1999 Kargil war.

Being 26 years old flight lieutenant that time during the Kargil war between India and Pakistan in 1999, he got the charge of protecting the war-hit Batalik sector. His duty was to hit the enemy targets at altitudes over 17,000 feet with deadly 80 mm rockets. On May 27, 1999, Nachiketa while flying his MiG 27 fighter aircraft, carrying out the operation his aircraft’s engine got failed on the Munthadalo range in the Batalik area. He ejected himself from the jet in order to survive but it was enemy’s area and he held captive. He was brutally beaten up by the Pakistani soldiers in a Rawalpindi jail till a senior officer intervened.

Kaiser Tufail

His name was Pakistan Air Force Air Commodore (Retd) Kaiser Tufail who showed the sense of maturity, humanity and respect to a soldier who was fighting like them for his motherland. Kaiser Tufail and Nachiketa bonded over “his father’s heart problem and the recent marriage of his sister.”

The experience was dreadful, Nachiketa explained and thought that he would never return to his home. Meanwhile, India had started mounting international pressure on Pakistan for the release of K Nachiketa. Also due to the pressure of international media as well as the United Nations, Pakistan finally released Kambampati Nachiketa eight days later on June 3, 1999. He was handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistan and returned home via the Wagah border.

Nachiketa was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for his bravery in 2000. It was really grateful of Pakistan and we praised it for showing mannerisms toward a soldier. This time also, we hope the same for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.