India’s treatment of Pak POWs in 1971 war a golden chapter of humanity: Rajnath - Hindustan Times
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India’s treatment of Pak POWs in 1971 war a golden chapter of humanity: Rajnath

By, Kanpur
Jan 15, 2024 05:42 AM IST

The defence minister led the celebrations of the eighth Armed Forces Veterans’ Day at Chakeri Air Force Station in Kanpur

Defence minister Rajnath Singh led the celebrations of the eighth Armed Forces Veterans’ Day at Chakeri Air Force Station in Kanpur on Sunday. He addressed nearly 1,000 ex-servicemen who attended the event. Singh also interacted with them and expressed his gratitude for their service and sacrifices, saying they had a special place in the heart of every Indian.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh laid a wreath at the war memorial and paid homage to the heroes for their supreme sacrifices and dedicated service to the nation in Kanpur on January 14, 2024. (Sourced)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh laid a wreath at the war memorial and paid homage to the heroes for their supreme sacrifices and dedicated service to the nation in Kanpur on January 14, 2024. (Sourced)

“Our soldiers think about the nation alone rising above family, caste and creed,” he said, adding that “they work tirelessly with one fact playing up on their mind if nation is secure, everything is safe.” After felicitating the veterans, the defence minister talked about Kanpur’s rich history in military affairs. “It’s no coincidence that we have gathered in a place like Kanpur to honour our veterans,” he said.

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“The city has a special place in army’s history. When the First War of Independence was waged in 1857, Nana Saheb Peshwa led the rebellion from Bithoor in Kanpur,” Singh added. Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, who was the commander of the all-woman Rani of Jhansi regiment of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, spent all her life in Kanpur post independence, the defence minister said.

Singh also said bravery, integrity, humanity and professionalism of Indian troops were recognised by the entire world. “Our soldiers who fought in two World Wars are respected the world over for their bravery. We too not only respect our soldiers but also those of other countries,” he added.

“In the 1971 war, we could have treated more than 90,000 Pakistan soldiers, who had surrendered, in any way we wanted. But, they were sent back to their country with full respect. Such treatment of enemy soldiers is one of the golden chapters of the history of humanity,” the defence minister said.

“When our government came to power at the Centre, as home and defence ministers, I forged a strong connection with the Armed Forces. It feels like in the past life, there must have been accumulated merits for me to have the opportunity to build such relationships with the soldiers,” he said.

He asserted the unwavering commitment of government towards the welfare of former servicemen, stating that from implementing the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme to providing health care and re-employment, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was leaving no stone unturned in making sure welfare of the veterans.

The defence minister said while the government was making more efforts, it was also a collective responsibility of the people to treat the soldiers and their dependents as their own families and ensure that they stand with them. On the occasion, Singh laid a wreath at the war memorial and paid homage to the heroes for their supreme sacrifices and dedicated service to the nation.

Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan; Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Maintenance Command, Air Marshal Vibhas Pande and Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Kanpur Air Commodore MK Praveen were prominent among those present on the occasion.

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