>> Well, actually, I really don't know from where to begin. It's all the same. I was a young captain with Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment when we got orders to move by air to South Korea to supplement the effort of Custodian Force India, which consisted of five regular battalions with the brigade headquarter. Perhaps Custodian Force was part of Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission with its headquarters at Pyongyang, and they [INAUDIBLE] because our job was essentially to repatriate the prisoners of war. No decision had been taken how to dispose of the prisoners of war. So we ... The brigade went there by sea, but having reached there, they realize that the force was not adequate to look after and manage the prisoners-of-war camps, so we, my battalion, which was the parachute battalion, was moved, and the Globemasters were provided by America. I had never seen a Globemaster because the biggest aircraft we had was a Dakota with a capacity of 20 and a Fairchild Packet, which was the World War II vintage aircraft with a capacity of about 15, 30 to 40, and this Globemaster could carry in two tiers about 130 troops fully with their kit, so it was a great experience really. We stopped at Clark Air Base in Philippines early in the morning. Now it was an eye-opener. It was about, I think, 3 or 4 a.m., and the troopers were already lining up to have their breakfast, and we, you see, the Indians had by and large in that period of that stage of our development was hardly 5 feet, 7 inch, 5 foot, 6 inch, and there we saw Afro-Americans lining up, and it was a tremendous experience, and the amount that they could eat for breakfast, it was really ... From there, we were taken to Japan, and I think it was Tachikawa or some airport, and then we were transferred to a battleship, which took us to the Incheon airport. There Mr. Syngman Rhee was the President of South Korea. He thought that Indians were pro-communist. Although India was the chairman of Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, which consisted of India as chairman, and we had a very famous general officer, General Thimayya, who later on also served in the United Nations. Besides India, there was Poles and Czechoslovakian representing the communists and I think if I recollect Norway or Sweden ... >> Sweden. >> ... [INAUDIBLE] the other part of this force, of this headquarter, and Custodian Force India under the general officer consisting of five battalions I mentioned earlier, so Syngman Rhee refuse to let us go by train from Incheon or go through South Korea to the demilitarized zone where we were destined, our Custodian Force was placed. Again, it was a great experience for me as a young officer. Helicopters were unknown in India in those days, but seeing helicopters from the ship like you see ... It was an experience again. The helicopters were small. Just they could take about four or five along with their complete as we call kit [INAUDIBLE] operational kit. Everybody goes with it. And we were put in the demilitarized zone, and we landed there. I was then [INAUDIBLE] rifle company, which generally consists about 18 men, and it was about 5 in the evening, and it was getting bit dark when I was given orders to relieve another company and take over straightaway the prisoner-of-war camp. There was no head count. I was just told that about 500 prisoners of war were in that camp. There was about five or six camps there. And lo and behold, lo and behold, middle of the night, and it was a subzero kind of temperature. We were not equipped really for the Korean climate. We were not equipped. There was a breakout, and our sentries on the [INAUDIBLE] were firing to stop the exodus. It was a nightmare. We were in our under [INAUDIBLE] sleeping, and suddenly this commotion was taking place, and perhaps they had timed it also. They knew they were very seasoned, those who had fought the war, but some of them were hard-core communists who never wanted anybody to either go to South Korea or to any Western countries, and they were creating terror in the camp, so any way to continue with this breakout, lot of them got through. They were very keen to go to South Korea or to go to south or to [INAUDIBLE] anywhere else, but it was a major setback for me that this happened when I was in command of the camp. That's a different story. I had to face a bit of disciplinary action for that. Then we were taken. You see, I appreciated the amount of hard work put by the generals of the American army to prepare a camp for about 800 soldiers and officers and be centrally heated. That itself was quite an experience that they were able to set up, and it was just [INAUDIBLE] canvas sheets and with some kind of heating arrangement in the center where perhaps diesel was being burned to keep the warm and also the ... You had the wooden floors and things like that and ... But one thing was that our senior commanders never wanted us to take on the United Nations, the American dress. They wanted us to remain ... They permitted the troops to wear clothes to be comfortable, but to officers, whatever we were entitled to, then what we had taken, which was certainly not ... wasn't adequate but to set an example that the leaders themselves were being given Indian rations whereas the troops were allowed to have rations with the other United Nation troops were. Initially we [INAUDIBLE] because we were uncomfortable. >> Mm. >> The clothing wasn't warm enough. Neither was the food. It took us hours by pressure cookers to cook the [INAUDIBLE] and the [INAUDIBLE] and all that whereas the troops were being fed the Californian oranges and the lamb and the ... all that frozen lamb and nice cheese. Anyway, gradually we were able to convince the senior [INAUDIBLE] that it is not [INAUDIBLE]. It's all right to set an example, but an example should also be related to the actualities on the ground and the situation. Now the ... We had also ... A hospital was also there to cater for. Let me concentrate first on the behavior of the core communist leaders. They had created cells in the compound, deep cells, wanted to give you protection against the climate, and second was that they used to torture those perhaps who were very keen to break away ... >> Mm. >> ... and torture them so badly that they will kill you, and in the morning, what you saw was two, three bodies being put on the gate of the ... which was a barbed wire kind of gate. It was a very tough situation, and you could do nothing. We could do nothing against the torture that was going on in the camps. Once we settled down, then I'm relating to what my job was. I was given the job of presenting prisoner of war from my camp to the team of NNRC, Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, team, and each prisoner of war was exposed to them in a tent or something like that [INAUDIBLE] tent. >> Mm. >> And there each ambassador are part of that team will bring messages and those recorded messages but played requesting these fellows to come back to their own motherland, go back to North Korea, to China, wherever. But there was no force involved in this whole exercise, but as luck would ... bad luck for me. And these prisoners used to restrict so that they carry no weapons or no sharp ... to harm the ... There is a bit of representative of the NNRC. And we used to strip them, and as I said, my bad luck came. One of the prisoner had kept a blade somehow. I don't know where. And he slashed one of the faces of [INAUDIBLE]. There was a commotion. >> Wait. This is very ... >> He had hidden a blade, a shaving blade, somehow, which we didn't know this, and he slashed the faces of one of the members of the Neutral Nation Repatriation Commission's team member. Anyway, he was overpowered, and of course I had to face the music later on through my normal army channels, but the officer who was conducting an inquiry into the whole thing was very considerate that it wasn't something intentional. There was no motivation on my part to relax, and therefore I was honorably ... And it was quite a bit of tension [INAUDIBLE] as a young officer I had then about 6 years service, and I was about 26 years old then. >> Mm. >> These were the ... But the life generally was very made reasonably comfortable. Later on, they permitted us to have the [INAUDIBLE] and all those facilities with the other United Nation troops were having. But what ... As a young officer, it was an eye-opener, and you match yourself professionally and otherwise in smartness, in alertness, in [INAUDIBLE]. We ... I thought, "I am as good or even better in a sense than officers from the other ... some of the other countries," so it built a lot of confidence in me as an individual, and perhaps that's the reason that I rose to be the vice chief of the army later on in life. >> Wow. Vice chief of the army? >> Right. Right. >> Wow. >> So we used to have ... Once I was taken off from that and I was made adjutant of the battalion, that means I was not involved in the looking after the prisoner of war but managing the affairs of the unit. We had a comfortable stay there. Our officers' mess was there. All the facilities were given, even [INAUDIBLE]. >> Mm. >> And we used to naturally sit in a huge transport carrier and which was warm enough to [INAUDIBLE]. I remember seeing a movie of Nat King Cole, the great singer of those days, and the son I remember, "What a Beautiful World," "What a Beautiful World," which was a great song in those days. Then we celebrated our festivals, Diwali and all that, and showed to the rest of the [INAUDIBLE] of the [INAUDIBLE] and the others. Perhaps it must have been explained to you that we were five battalions. That means a brigade nearly would service about 5,000 troops. Indian troops were there, which is quite a contribution. Do not [INAUDIBLE] but later on. >> For how many years? For how many years? How long? >> Oh, yes. It was in 1953, '54. That means we came back about 10 months, 10 months. We were ... >> In 10 months, there were 5,000 of you? >> Mm-hmm. >> There were 5,000 of you? >> Yes. >> Five thousand? >> Yeah. >> For 10 months? >> Ten months. Yes. >> Wow. >> Yes. >> Because before the war, the unit was very small, less than 400. >> [INAUDIBLE] it was [INAUDIBLE] which was part of the ... But this was ... I'll show you the plate I have. >> Mm-hmm. Later. We can ... >> Later. We have a plate for that. Then also we got a chance to visit the NNRC headquarter, which was at Pyongyang, North Korea, and now North Korea, and there was again a world of difference between the attitudes, the reading of the situation. It was entirely [INAUDIBLE] aggressive. You could see there the aggressiveness on the part of ... The Chinese were still there too, but we were dealing with only prisoner of war. >> How long did that take, that process? So the armistice is signed, okay? >> Mm. >> And then so ... Then you start negotiating, right? >> Mm. >> The army, not negotiating. The negotiation was already done. >> Unite ... You see, United Nation was part of the fighting, so this was a ... I think under Geneva Contention or some, a Neutral Nation Repatriation Commission. Repatriation, which is a self-explanatory thing, was to repatriate or give an opportunity to the prisoner of war where they want to go, but again, it may be premature. Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve our task. No final decision was taken, and we had ... We returned the prisoners of war back to the neutral nations, and we came back ... >> So that ... >> ... without achieving the aim. >> And it took 10 months? >> Yeah, less than 10 months. >> Mm. So what happened to the person that slipped or slipped a person, the POW? >> I wouldn't know because that [INAUDIBLE] was taken by the Neutral Nations Repatration Commission. >> Was he Chinese or North Korean? >> Again, I wouldn't know. >> Mm. >> I wouldn't know because there was not written that they are North Korean, or they are Chinese or whatever. >> Because I know POW is still a very ... That's why the war lasted 3 years. >> Yeah. >> I heard ... >> Yeah. >> ... that after 1 year, by 1951, the battle was already kind of decided. It was all within the 30 ... along the 38th parallel. >> Parallel, yes. >> And it was just up and down and up and down, up and down, not different parts, but the reason why it dragged was because of the POW issue. >> Mm, mm. >> And it was hard to come to ... >> You would be surprised that I think [INAUDIBLE] came to India. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> And ... >> Who did? >> And ... >> POWs? >> Uh-huh, and they were now ... They are part of our association, and they are businessmen there in Delhi. >> Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. What do you mean? The two are Koreans? North Koreans? >> South Koreans. >> South ... Okay. After the war. >> South ... >> After the war. >> South Korean prisoner, they came to India. >> Oh. >> They opted for India. [INAUDIBLE]. >> They were captured by the enemy. >> Yes. >> And then when they were repatriated, they said they want to go to India. >> Yes. >> Interesting. So they are ... >> Actually, this fellow, the [INAUDIBLE], should be able to tell you exact name of this person. He was a businessman. >> Oh. >> Yes. >> Well, I guess ... >> But I don't think he is ... I don't know, but we keep on meeting him. We have get-togethers, association get-togethers, and he attends that. Whether he has given up his citizenship, that I am not aware whether he is [INAUDIBLE]. >> So the association has members of both the parachute, the ambulance and the ... your unit, right? >> Not mine only. Custodian Force India was the executive branch of the Neutral Nations Repatration Commission. >> And that was 5,000? >> That was 5,000 troops with a [INAUDIBLE] hospital, big hospital, not only an ambulance [INAUDIBLE] ambulance but a big hospital with all facilities. I think they could maintain ... The back strength was about 50 or so, big, big hospital. >> So all together less than 6,000 Indians went to Korea? >> Yes. >> And luckily only one died, luckily. >> Mm. >> How did he die? >> Hmm? >> What kind of accident? How did he die? >> How did he die? >> Mm-hmm. >> I don't know the ... >> The one Indian ... >> ... actual ... But again, while we were there, I mentioned their aggressiveness. They even want the General Thorat. He was a general officer of the Indian army who was the head of the Custodian Force. They were maltreating some prisoners, so he went in to see for himself, and there this aggressive lot, must be North Koreans or Chinese, they made him captive ... >> Hmm. >> ... a general officer, and then a big operation was ... More force was brought, and he himself was a seasoned World War II veteran. >> Hmm. >> So he was able to convince them that they cannot keep holding onto him. He will be free, so it is better that they do it in a peaceful manner rather than bloodshed. >> Hmm. >> And he was able to convince to them because the troops have then ... We were part of that to take action if something goes wrong. >> Hmm. >> So these kind of situations were ... Then we had ... On a Diwali day, I remember I led the ceremonial parade of the normal ... And we put up Malcolm ... I wonder if you ... You may not have heard. Malcolm is a martyr. How long you been in India? >> Two days, 3 days? >> Malcolm is an exercise. It's to strengthen your muscles and things like that. A greasy pole taller than this, about 15 feet, which you climb, a greasy pole, so you climb by maneuvering your body in a manner, and you reach on top, and then in a pyramid sort of fashion, more will join like that, then display ... And it was subzero. I think it about minus 10 or 15, and they are absolutely naked. >> Mm. >> [INAUDIBLE]. So what I mean is that a cultural sort of exchange was also there besides the military parade and things like that [INAUDIBLE]. >> Because there were so many different cultures there. >> Yes. >> So many different cultures. >> Rest of the countries were there. >> Yes. So it was very interesting. >> Have you been back to Korea? >> Yes. I went there in 2002. >> For the first time? >> No, 2002, yes, only once. I went there once. >> That was during World Cup. >> During the [INAUDIBLE] so was absolutely ... There were nothing. There was nothing standing in the capital, and one was really surprised to see in 2002 the development which had taken place. I think its credit goes to the South Korean or Korean as a whole, I would say, that the sense of discipline, the sense of dedication and also perhaps motivation through their education, through their parents, through their teachers, through the general society that they have been able to achieve wonders. >> I think Koreans have a strong sense of duty, and we are very grateful people, and I believe that we recognize that so many foreigners came to Korea to defend our freedom and that we owe it to all those who served to really rise above, rise from the ashes of war to become successful and prosper, and I ... Although I'm Korean American, I'm very proud when I hear that the Korean government really treats the veterans with the utmost respect ... >> Oh, yes. >> ... and gratitude. >> We've been receiving signed by the president of South Korea messages of this gratitude and also this system of ... And it is maintaining the link with the next generation and the next generation. Already the grandchildren are ... They go on this kind of program where they are taught. They mingle with people from all the countries, and also, I think they are even offered now scholarships. >> Yes. >> Yes. Thereby, you can opt to take a job even after to learn Korean language, and, yes, all these facilities are being given. >> Yeah. >> And we are really surprised that while ... Even China, China in 1949, '50, was much behind India in its GDP, and even throughout [INAUDIBLE] reign, it's only [INAUDIBLE] or somebody. When he became president, I think he became president after [INAUDIBLE] that he brought the technical know-how. Firstly, they were so proud that they disconnected. They thought that the Soviets were too overpowering and neutralizing their character, and so they gave that up, and then they had all the technology made up with Americas and see what they have achieved. They have become ... They are a superpower now. >> Mm. >> And so is South Korea. They are known as five tigers of Southeast in development in technology, in all sphere of activity. >> Mm-hmm. >> I wish that we in India could also somehow become a little more disciplined [INAUDIBLE] because, through discipline, we can achieve. It also moderates your character, your integrity, but in spite of our teachings, we are really civilizational, somehow the ... I shall be saying, but somehow the leaders, the political leaders and the bureaucrats have affected the development side. >> Mm. >> But it is improving. >> Yeah. >> It's improving. >> Yeah. >> Yes, and there is a hope. >> Yes, and I have so many Indian-American friends that they're ... The diaspora, they're very, very, very prosperous, and they'll bring back that kind of knowledge and ... because that's what Chinese ... >> Where are you staying in? >> I ... >> Stay USA? >> Washington, D.C. >> Washington, D.C. >> Yes. >> Yes. >> And there's an Indian-American congressman because I worked in Congress for a long time, and, yes, I think all over the world with many of the diaspora bringing back the knowledge and just the sense of, I guess, more discipline, like you said, because when you go abroad and you're not in your home country, you have to work as harder. >> Harder. >> And that's why I feel like I've achieved the American dream because, for my parents who sacrificed their life to come to America for us, we think we got to succeed, right? I think that's the same analogy of the Korean people. The parents all over the world, the veterans, came and sacrificed, so the Korean people think, okay, for them, to honor them, the people and the country, they have to succeed, and so I hope that ... I'm very glad you got to see modern Korea with the tall skyscrapers. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> Yes. Everybody says there was only one bridge over Han River. Now there's 16 bridges, and I ... There's Samsung. There's Hyundai. There's ... all over the world. And I hope when you see that, that you feel very proud, that you were part of that making. >> Yes. >> Mm. I really hope that, and that's why I wanted to come, and I wanted to just ... I know you know, and you are proud, but it's also nice to hear it again, to say thank you again. >> Tremendous, tremendous. >> Yeah. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> So I do want to say thank you. >> Yeah. >> Oh, in the Korean custom like in New Year or when you pay respect to the elder, we bow. >> Mm. >> That's the proper way of saying thank you, so I wanted to actually do that because this is ... I tried ... This is not sorry, but I tried to wear something a little bit kind of Indian to pay respect for you, so I'm going to do that because that's what we do, and I will say thank you the proper way that I was taught to do.