Saturday, September 05, 2015

The pilot who ‘shot’ Pakistan

Coimbatore: Fifty years ago, when he leapt into his Canberra, a twin-engine jet bomber fitted with cameras, and flew into Pakistan on a top secret mission, then Squadron Leader Jag Mohan Nath already had a Maha Vir Chakra awarded to him for the earlier 1962 operations. He had flown into Aksai Chin and Tibet and returned with valuable inputs on the ground situation and enemy troop activities there, both before and during the Indo-China conflict.

Three years later, in September 1965, he was awarded another Maha Vir Chakra, this time for his role in the Indo-Pak conflict. The Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India, after the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for acts of gallantry.

Today, as India observes the 50th anniversary of the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Wing Commander Nath is the only living Indian Air Force officer to be decorated twice with this honour. On a recent visit to Coimbatore, where he first came as a cadet to Air Force Administrative College in 1948 for his initial training, he recalls the 30 reconnaissance missions he flew into Pakistan.

Mr. Nath — Jaggi to colleagues — is frail and stooped at age 85. Speaking softly, he recalls that his missions were so secret that only one other person knew about them: the then air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh.
06/09/15 Pankaja Srinivasan/The Hindu
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