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Captured IAF Pilot Abhinandan: What does the Geneva Convention say about Prisoner of War

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 28 February 2019, 14:12 IST
PM Narendra Modi & PM Imran Khan

As India has demanded an early release of the captured IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, while his Mi-21 fighter aircraft was shot down in PoK, Delhi has lashed out against Islamabad’s ‘vulgar display towards an injured personnel.’

The international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention of 1949 are being looked upon for the return of IAF Wing Commander but what does it says, here’s a look at the provisions.

The 1949 Geneva Convention was signed by all the countries post the World War 2 and it ensures that those countries involved in the ‘war’ would behave in a humane manner with every civilian and medical team, as well as the combatants involved, and injured soldiers.

In the Third Convention under the treatment of prisoners of war, it states that the prisoners must be treated “humanely” and the concerned country would deal with every circumstances related to the captor including the place of internment, religious needs, financial needs, treatment of captured officers, and the repatriation of prisoners.

Tension escalates between India and Pakistan

The Article 13 of the Convention states: “Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest. Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.”

The provision also talks about the release of the prisoners and India is hitting on this point to bring back IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan.

The provision says that ‘the parties involved in the case are bound to send back the Prisoner of War as and when they are fit to travel.’

Meanwhile, after the 1971 war ended, more than 80,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered to the Indian Army and India agreed to release all of them after the 1972 Shimla Agreement. Also, during the Kargil war, Pakistan had returned IAF Pilot K Nachiketa who was captured after his Mi27 crashed but Squadron leader Ajay Ahuja was killed in captivity.

A lot depends on the International Committee of the Red Cross which plays the role of mediator and takes a cap on those countries who violate the norms.

India can hope that Pakistan returns Abhinandan whether through diplomatic steps or bound by international pressure, as and when the situation normalizes, maybe in a week or 10 days.

Also read: India-Pakistan tension: IAF Pilot's plight & border security tops the agenda as Govt plans next step

First published: 28 February 2019, 14:12 IST