The Indian Army is synonymous with sacrifice and selflessness. Our soldiers stay away from their families for most of the time and make the nation their priority. If it comes down to choosing between the country and the family, an Indian Army soldier will always chose the country. Here is one such astonishing tale of the same.

In the 1965 war, Field Marshal Cariappa’s son, Air Marshal KC Nanda Cariappa, was the Squadron Leader with No. 20 squadron. While attacking an air base in Pakistan, his plane was shot down by Pakistani Army Air Defence. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war (POW).

One realizing his identity, Radio Pakistan immediately announced the capture of the younger Cariappa. Ayub Khan was informed. Ayub Khan had been junior to Field Marshall Cariappa during his military service prior to Independence. He contacted KM Cariappa who was then in the retired phase of his life and was living at Mercara, his hometown. Ayub informed him about how they had captured his son and that he was safe.

Khan also offered to release his son immediately. KM Cariappa’s reaction was priceless. He reportedly scoffed at the ‘benevolence’ of Khan and told him to give his son no better treatment than any other POW. Cariappa said, “He is my son no longer. He is the child of this country, a soldier fighting for his motherland like a true patriot. My many thanks for your kind gesture, but I request you to release all or release none. Give him no special treatment.”

Such supreme sense of sacrifice is found nowhere else but in the Indian Army. In fact it could be hard to discover such dedication for the nation even in most armies of the world. This intangible aspect of the Indian Army is what defines the Indian Army and makes it one of the best forces in the world.


Vinayak Jain

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