March 28, 2021 1:05:11 am
Lieutenant General Walter Anthony Gustavo ‘Wag’ Pinto, former General Officer in the Indian Army, passed away in the city on March 25 at the age of 97. His last rites will be held at AFMC mortuary on Sunday morning.
Popularly known as the ‘Victor of Basantar’ for commanding the 54th Division in the battle as a Major General, Gen Pinto last served as the 8th General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Central Command.
As Major General, he had led the 54th Infantry Division on the western front in the Indo-Pak War of 1971, for which he was awarded the prestigious Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM).
The Battle of Basantar was one of the longest ground battles ever fought by the Indian Army. It involved 14 days of fierce fighting for which Indian soldiers and officers were awarded a total of 196 gallantry awards.
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Gen Pinto was born on July 1, 1924, in Poona, Bombay Presidency, to Alexander Pinto, who worked in the military accounts department and Helen Agnes Pinto. he completed his school education in Bengaluru, Pune and St Aloysius Senior Secondary School, Jabalpur, from where he passed his senior Cambridge school leaving certificate with 4 Ds (distinctions).
He attended college at Robertson College Jabalpur, where he joined the D Company, 10th Nagpur Battalion, University Training Corps (UTC).
He had penned a book ‘Bash on Regardless’, in which he described the Battle of Basantar.
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