I absolutely agree with you about pragmatism and how the nature of war means that sometimes we can't do what should normally be done, and many a times, might not be in the mental state to decide what later might be suggested as the best course of action. This appears to be the case here. I'm trying to understand what happened in this incident, before even thinking of making a judgment on anyone.
1) Was the operator left inside the helo? Yes, since the argument is that he could not be moved due to spinal bullet injury
2) If so, wouldnt that have been a danger, given fuel leakage and possibility of fire. By theory above, he was in every danger of being caught in fire if it had broken out
3) If he couldn't be moved at all, was he suitably immobilized and given first aid by the others there? (some basic medical training is taught after all)Going by news reports NO
Alright. Then we need to figure out if anything could've been done about this within the time constraints the others had in having to evacuate the LZ before the Reds turned up.
Plus, wrt the point about stretchers, this does beg the question, although in case of a spinal injury, any form of movement might be dangerous, especially if it was in hilly or rough territory. However, they might've been able to use the stretcher to move him away from the potentially burning helo.
4) Given that both Garuds were blinded by the chemical burns, etc, its fair that they couldn't have helped in the situation anyway. However, why didnt atleast one of them stay with the chopper? Garuds are still not as valuable as pilots in terms of hostages (no offense to anyone), and in case of any fire etc, that garud would've been able to move Sahu. What is the exact sequence of events after the plane was put down till when they left to go to the camp? I don't endorse your point that IAF pilots believe themselves HVT for maoists/naxals over others.
To clarify... i didnt say taht the pilots believe themselves HVTs. I'm just saying that I believe that operationally, and within the contours of this conflict, they are definitely more HVT than the Paramilitary forces, or even the Garuds. Note taht I'm not talking about the value of their lives per se, which are all equally precious, but their value as hostages if captured or killed. These considerations do tend to influence command decisions on tactics and doctrines. As it might've, in this case. If the higher ups decided that the pilots were far too precious to lose, and too dangerous to be caught by the Maoists, then the SOP for Air Force personnel in this situation could've been to evacuate a hostile area immediately and take all precautions to not get caught. In which case, the personnel were following orders. In war, sometimes such toug decisions do need to be taken.
5) Why didn't they take the service pistol with them? What were the weapons the IAF party had with them? Did they give Sahu any weapon to defend himself with? No weapons were carried by IAF party. They left every weapon available with them at the crash sight for Sahu to defend himself with a weapon of his choice.
No offense, but if true, isnt that a little dangerous for the IAF party to be completely unarmed inside potentially hostile territory? So why exactly did they leave EVERY single weapon at the crash site? Something in this doesnt compute.
So some questions do need answers if we should judge whether this indeed happened, and if anyone is blame-worthy.
As I said again and again it was a mistake though a situational one maybe. Admit it, hide it but do not repeat it.
Agreed. And thats my view too... evaluate errors in order to fix them. Thankfully in this case, the maoists didnt find or attack the chopper and harm Sahu. What if things had gone down differently?