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Failing to save Bangladesh PM Hasina’s life would have changed Indo-Bangla relations, says Colonel Ashok Kumar Tara (Retd), war veteran

During the 1971 war in Bangladesh,Colonel Ashok Kumar Tara (veteran), Vir Chakra disregarded his safety and without carrying any weapon, rescued the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, including present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from the custody of Pakistani forces.

pune Updated: Nov 30, 2018 16:27 IST
Gokul Nair
Gokul Nair
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,War Veteran,Bangladesh
Colonel Ashok Kumar Tara (veteran), Vir Chakra, one of the honoured officers of the war, shares his experience with Hindustan Times(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The 1971 Indo-Pak war between December 3 and 16 led to the independence of east Pakistan. With the liberation war nearing its 47th anniversary, Colonel Ashok Kumar Tara (veteran), Vir Chakra, and one of the honoured officers of the war, shares his experience with Hindustan Times. Born on February 27, 1942, Tara (76) was commissioned in the Brigade of The Guards in 1963. He is a veteran soldier of Indo-Pak wars, 1965 and 1971. In 1965 he took part in the Battle of Gadra (Rajasthan) and in 1971 in the Battle of Gangasagar in Bangladesh. During the 1971 war in Bangladesh, he disregarded his safety and without carrying any weapon, rescued the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, including present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from the custody of Pakistani forces.

Here are some excerpts from the interview

What is your opinion on the current border transgressions happening on the LoC near China and Pakistan?

The transgressions is only a kind of physiological pressure to the force. It’s a kind of political pressure the border nations wish to put on. China wants to have a good relationship with India as they are with Pakistan. With the support that China receives from the US and Russia, the Indian Navy should keep themselves more cautious and alert across the Pacific Ocean.

Tell us about rescue operation of the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, first President and founder of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the present Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina were held by Pakistan during the Indo-Pak War. The rescue has helped the relations with Bangladesh. Failing to save the life of Sheikh Hasina would have changed the present political relations between India and Bangladesh. The operation was also known as the battle of guts and wits (a psychological war).

Do you think the Doklam situation could have been handled better?

Doklam is a narrow plateau line in the tri-junction of Bhutan, China and India. It’s basically a pressure point and most sensitive part to Indian Army. The situation in Doklam can change at any point of time and it has to be handled in a strategical way.

There are talks of downsizing the Indian Army by the current chief

It’s a matter of perception. Every Army commander will have his own views of handling its men. My experience on the same is from the past, which cannot be compared to the present functioning of the defence system. While we took up some policies of the British Army, but changed it as per our own perspective..

Your point of view on the Army chief’s decision to deploy soldiers to build railway overbridges and clean up garbage?

I believe it’s just an exercise that has helped the citizens.

First Published: Nov 30, 2018 16:21 IST