Senior Journalist Chander Suta Dogra’s Book “Missing in Action: The Prisoners Who Never Came Back” was launched and discussed during an event hosted by United Service Institution of India (USI) at its premise in New Delhi on 04 March 2020. Maj Gen BK Sharma, AVSM, SM** (Retd), Director, USI delivering the introductory note reflected on the theme of the book and termed it a unique work of investigative journalism, which is based on primary source and presented in a very realistic manner. He complimented the author for her arduous research undertaking and presenting extremely insightful details of Indian soldiers who went missing during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. It was followed by address from Air Marshal VK Bhatia, PVSM, AVSM, VrC (Retd), who chaired the session. The chief guest Ram Madhav , National General Secretary, BJP praised the book during his speech and urged the people to read it. “If this book doesn’t touch you, there’s something wrong with you. Such a powerful narrative!” Mr Madhav said. Ambassador G Parthasarathy admired the author and mentioned, “Ms. Chander Suta Dogra has done the Armed Forces proud with her book!”
The launch was followed by a panel discussion amongst the august company of Shri Ram Madhav, Ambassador G Parthasarathy, IFS (Retd), Maj Gen BK Sharma AVSM, SM** (Retd), Air Marshal Vinod Bhatia PVSM, AVSM, VrC (Retd), Mr GS Gill and the author herself. The session was followed by Q&A session.
Ms Dogra’s book explores the story of the soldiers who went missing in the enemy territory while on daring missions and how the nation has forgotten them, though successive governments continue to make token acknowledgements about their missing status.
Over the last five decades, there have been scattered news reports and a few memoirs offering information piecemeal, but this is the first comprehensive text that explores all the aspects of the issue, the political, diplomatic and military. The result of years of research, Missing in Action unearths startling revelations that shed new light on the subject. Amid much hearsay and dismissive commentary on the subject, Chander Suta Dogra’s book is an attempt to find an answer to the question, ‘What happened to these men?’ It also hopes to open up a debate on how soldiers are often used as pawns by governments, even as they pay lip-service to their cause.
What made the event most remarkable was the presence of next of kin and some close relatives of the war-prisoners who never came back. Their sense of loss, struggle and never diminishing hope to unite with their loved ones made the event highly emotive and heart touching.