35 years after the 1971 Indo-Pak war ended with a thumping victory for the Indian Forces. Col(retd) Anil Athale remembers his days as a PoW in that war and his triumphant return home.
During a war, there are just four possibilities a soldier faces.One, victorious and safe. Two: wounded. Three: killed in action. And four, a Prisoner of War.It was my fate to face the fourth.
As the days passed, a sense of desperation crept in on us.
Our spirits were buoyed when Indira Gandhi’s principal advisor D P Dhar visited Pakistan in early 1972. Then came the historic Simla Agreement of July 2, 1972. But the repatriation of Prisoners of War remained mired in controversies. Bangladesh demanded the handing over of ‘War Criminals’ from among the Pakistanis held in India, and our fate got linked to the ‘high politics’ of the subcontinent being played out at the time.