Almost 17 years ago, two fighter pilots Kaiser Tufail from Pakistan and K. Nachiketa from India had an unusual conversation over tea on the Pakistan’s LOC (Line of Control). Pakistan Air Force’s director of operations during the Kargil War Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, rescued K. Nachiketa an Indian Air Force pilot to escape torture when he was arrested after his plane went down in the Pakistani territory of Kargil.
Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail was one of the luckiest fighter pilots who have flown most of PAF’s fighter aircrafts including F-6, F-7PG, F-16 and Mirage. Kaiser Tufail is a graduate of the PAF Air War College and the National Defence University. He also holds master’s degrees in Strategic and War Studies. Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail told Indian Express that:
I had a detailed talk with Nachiketa and most of all it was a friendly talk between the two officers. We had tea along with some snacks and we wandered about flying. My mandate was to strictly maintain the cordiality of a crew room and to find out the reasons of his ejection and the task he was flying for
Capt. K Nachiketa, a 26-year-old fighter pilot, was accredited with the task of targeting Pakistani posts in Kargil at the altitude of 17,000 feet. He secured on to a target and fired the mortar of his MiG-27 fighter-bomber when suddenly his engine went dead in mid-air. The engine started again but he had to eject because he was getting closer to the ground. That is when he ejected and landed in the Pakistani territory.
Capt. Nachiketa added that
The Pakistani soldiers who had arrested me were trying to maul me and maybe wanted to kill me, because for them, I was their enemy who had fired on their locations from the air. Fortunately, the officer (Kaiser Tufail) who came seems very mature. He immediately realized the situation that I am now imprisoned and I shouldn’t be handled this way. Luckily, he was able to control them, which was a big thing, because they were very hostile at that point
Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail investigated Capt. Nachiketa, during which they came to know that they had so much in common. We discussed Nachiketa father’s illness and the marriage of his sister which has recently taken place during the very informal conversation, Kaiser Tufail remembered. I was so surprised to know that there are so many things in common between the two countries. I asked him what he was doing before the mission and Nachiketa enchantingly shared the experience of his sister’s wedding and that he had taken leave to arrange all the things for his wedding.
Kaiser Tufail also disclosed that Capt. K Nachiketa was curious about the Pakistan Air Force and was surprised to know that all officers had free internet access. He told Nachiketa that perhaps we are a smaller force so it was easier to give us the Internet access. After Eight days, Nachiketa was handed over to the Red Cross which helped him go back to India.