The image was taken at the height of the Indo-Pak war of 1971. It shows Lt. Gen W.A.G.Pinto beside a board erected after the capture of a key position during the Battle of Basantar.
The board reads:
“You are now entering Pakistan. No passports required so Bash on Regardless.”
The words exemplify the unusual grit and tenacity of the entire Indian Army during the war.
Lt. Gen Pinto led the army’s 54 Infantry Division in the Shakargarh sector in Jammu of which the 47th Infantry Brigade was a part.
The division and its brigades were so effective that by the time the battle neared its last days, the Indian Army was close to capturing Sialkot in Pakistan itself.
Pakistan had lost 42 of its tanks in the Battle of Basantar alone. Many of them destroyed by just one brave heart – Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, who was posthumously honoured with the Param Vir Chakra.
In fact the 54 Infantry Division also had a second PVC recipient in Major Hoshiar Singh.
Due to its badassery in the Battle of Basantar, the 47th Infantry Brigade was renamed the Basantar Brigade.
By the time Pakistan surrendered, Indian army were the overlords around a thousand square miles of Pakistani territory in this sector alone. Due to our misplaced generosity with regard to Pakistan, India would later let go of the over 5,000 square miles of Pakistani territory it gained to where it now stands.
That board remains a reminder of what our forces are capable of.