INDIA. Mumbai: On Sunday, Retired Army officer Major Ian Cardozo, the 1971 Indo-Pak war hero, stated that India would have to be prepared for technological warfare with China, and the country would be required to train its soldiers to meet any eventuality.
Interacting with media at the launch of his book “‘Cartoos Saab’-A Soldier’s Story of Resilience in Adversity” at St. Paul’s Institution of Communication, located at Bandra in North West Mumbai, Maj Gen (retd) Cardozo said that India had fought five wars till now and no country except Israel, stood by India.
The decisions related to wars are connected to politicians and bureaucrats. The citizens have an important role to play, and the voters should make the Government understand the reality and make appropriate decisions.
About the “Agnipath Scheme” introduced by the Union Government to recruit soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the armed forces for a four-year period, Maj Gen Cardozo said that the formulation scheme is a wrong decision which raises many questions related to the benefits, including the pension to the recruits.
It is impracticable to recruit “agniveers” just for 4 years. It is true that after India introduced the “Agnipath” scheme, neighbouring Nepal began recruiting Gorkhas in its Army.
About fallen heroes, he said that over 60,000 soldiers have laid down their lives till now. Besides, we have 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees. In fact, the memorials of martyr soldiers should be set up. Earlier, there was a statue of King George at India Gate. It was replaced with an unknown soldier.
About his experience with the Gorkha regiment, he said that Gorkhas are very gentle people. In fact, they are the best specimen of humanity.
Maj Gen Cardozo, the hero of the Indo-Pak 1971 war, cut off his injured leg with his own khukri to save his life. Having his leg amputated, he was offered to stay in the Army but in a Staff position which he refused and, with sheer determination, went on to command a Battalion and a Brigade. He became the first war-disabled officer of the Indian Army to command a Battalion and a Brigade. He retired from the Army as Chief of Staff of a Corps in the Eastern Command.
His book “Cartoos Saab”-A Soldier’s Story of Resilience in Adversity” is a memoir about serving the country on a limb and a prayer. His inspiration came from the book “Reach For The Sky” based on the life of Douglas Bader, an RAF(Royal Air Force, UK) pilot who had lost both legs and yet became a Flying Ace in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Maj Gen Cardozo’s life story is the inspiration behind the upcoming Akshay Kumar starrer Hindi feature film-“Gorkha.”
Maj Gen Cardozo had originally planned to join the Navy, but after meeting his senior from his School, (St. Xavier’s) Sunith Rodrigues, he changed his mind and joined the Army. Later, Gen Sunith Rodrigues became the Chief of Army and then was Governor of Haryana and Punjab after retiring from the Army.
Post-retirement, Maj Gen Cardozo served as Chairman of the Rehabilitation Council of India and Commissioner for Persons with Disability of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. He also does writing and composes poetry. Besides, he is a keen Marathon Runner.