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A hair-raising incident with Gnats

By Wg Cdr Prakash S Sanadi

3rd DECEMBER 1971

The IAF had called off Operation Cactus Lily in the Western Sector with the defeat and surrender of East Pakistan. No. 45 Sqn (MiGs) were ordered to pack up from Amritsar and move back to Chandigarh as the war in the East was over. A detachment of No 2 Squadron (Gnats), on ORP and Operational duties, also operating from Amritsar, was asked to wind up and return to Ambala.

Area of Interest - Ambala

Sandy (Flt Lt PS Sanadi) was in Ambala waiting to ferry a Gnat aircraft under engine change to Amritsar. He was instructed to report immediately to Amritsar by Wg Cdr JW Greene Commanding Officer of No 2 Squadron to help in the winding up of 2 Sqn detachment. Sandy was planning to leave Ambala by train the same evening when he got a call from Mrs Greene to say she would be accompanying him as the war scenario in the western sector was over and her visit to Amritsar was agreed to by her husband. Geeta, Sandy’s wife also decided to join in the joy ride to Amritsar. So the train journey was cancelled and Sandy decided to drive down to Amritsar in his Fiat car.

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