• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024


Air Marshal Mohinder Singh Bawa, the man behind most of the Pakistani tank destruction at Longewala during the 1971 war on the Western front, passed away recently at the age of 92.

Air Marshal Bawa(Retd) PVSM,AVSM,VM was was Station Commander of Jaisalmer during India – Pakistan 1971 war!

This highly decorated officer affectionately known as “Tiger” or “Minhi, renowned for his remarkable leadership as the station commander of Jaisalmer during the Indian Air Force’s engagement in the 1971 War.Bawa’s strategic insight led to an unprecedented tank defeat that has been etched in military history.

Born in 1932, he embarked on a distinguished journey with the Indian Air Force, receiving his commission as a fighter pilot in April 1953. He was a prominent member of the illustrious 60th Pilot Course, which included many future legends of the Air Force, such as Pirthi Singh, TK Sen, Satnam Shah, P Gautam, KK Sen, Walter Marshall, and BA Coelho, among others. Bawa was destined to leave his indelible mark on the IAF.

March 1966 marked Bawa’s return to the adrenaline-filled world of fighter flying when he was appointed Flight Commander of the 17 Squadron, operating Hunters in the strategic eastern sectors of Jorhat and Hashimara. His journey took another remarkable turn in March 1968 when he was tasked with a formidable challenge: establishing the No. 26 Squadron at Adampur and introducing the Sukhoi-7, a new addition to the Indian Air Force’s arsenal. As Commanding Officer, Bawa was instrumental in moulding the squadron into a formidable type training unit for the IAF’s latest fighter-bomber fleet. Under his leadership, the squadron achieved remarkable success, earning him widespread respect and admiration. Recognising his outstanding leadership and contribution to this challenging assignment, Bawa was honoured with the Vayu Sena Medal.

A retired Gorkha Rifle Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charanjeet Singh served in Army for the long 20 years.Air Marshal Bawa didn’t get the proper recognition as he feels.

“We recently lost one of our legendary war hero’s, whom undoubtedly we can call the saviour of Longewala. The man behind the chaos in the Pakistani Armoured battalion. Unfortunately, like any other true hero, this man never got the recognition he deserved. Many in our country don’t even know who this legend was. At the same time I would like to credit Mr JP Dutta, too, who so beautifully wiped off this great man’s contribution in the so called, war movie, “Border”. My question is what right did he had to do so, how on earth would he like to justify this stupidity. Why was he not questioned?Who approved that movie?Obviously the contribution of then Major Chandpuri is not at all deniable, but that doesn’t mean Mr Dutta had all the leave to neglect Wing Commander Bawa. How on earth did Jackie Shroff matched his portrayal? Shame on you JP Dutta.”- Colonel Singh added.

During his long service career, he has held a variety of command and staff appointments which include the command of one frontline fighter squadron and two major operational bases where he accomplished high rates of aircraft serviceability, enhanced operational preparedness and all round efficiency. He ha also held the assignment of Air Adviser in the Indian High Commission in London, Senior Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College and Senior Air Staff Officer at one of the operational commands.

(Author is a Sr.journalist working for Western media with 20 years of experience in covering the east and northeast, with specialisation in Defence and Sports.In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International and National media awards for Journalism).

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