Ms Farida Singh received the letter from the Pakistan Air Force pilot, Qais Hussain after 46 years from the time when the IAF pilot was shot down.
The email from Hussain says:
"The incident happened 46 years back but it is as fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday. The aircraft flown by your father had drifted off course by many a mile and in his search for the destination, he had been going up and down in the border area of Rann of Katchh for quite some time and it made our radar controllers uncomfortable.
I happened to be strapped up in my aircraft along with another pilot (my leader) in his, on two minutes take-off alert. We were scrambled but I had to take off alone, and with help from my radar controller, intercepted your father's aircraft which was considered to be on a recce mission to open a new war front. I caught sight of him at 3000' and made a pass so close that I could read his markings and the number of the aircraft. Your father spotted my presence immediately and he started climbing and waggling his wings seeking mercy.
Instead of firing at him at first sight, I relayed to my controller that I had intercepted an eight-seat transport aircraft (guessing by the four side windows) and wanted further instructions to deal with it. At the same time, I was hoping that I would be called back without firing a shot. There was a lapse of 3 to 4 long minutes before I was given clear orders to shoot the aircraft
After the shooting, I had a sense of achievement and satisfaction that I had completed my mission and destroyed any recce data that might have been collected to open a new war front. I landed back at Mauripur, Karachi, with my fuel tanks bone dry and was greeted by my seniors and other squadron colleagues. Later that evening, All India Radio announced the names of the occupants who had lost their lives in that aircraft...
Mrs Singh, I have chosen to go into this detail to tell you that it all happened in the line of duty and it was not governed by the concept that 'everything is fair in love and war', the way it has been portrayed by the Indian media due to lack of information. I did not play foul and went by the rules of business but the unfortunate loss of precious lives, no matter how it happens, hurts each human and I am no exception. I feel sorry for you, your family and the other seven families who lost their dearest ones.
I hope and pray that you and your family stay well
My best regards...
In its reply, Ms Singh says:
"The fact that this all happened in the confusion of a tragic war was never lost to us. We are all pawns in this terrible game of War and Peace…. This incident is indeed a prime example of what damage strife and mindless battles can drive even good men to do."