UN Chief honours sacrifice of World War-I Indian soldiers

SansadTV Bureau

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon honoured over a million Indian soldiers who fought in the World War I at a commemorative event and released a photo book authored by the Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of India to the UN featuring war memorials from across the world.

“India, then part of the British Empire, provided more than one million men. More than 60,000 died in action, along with so many others from Africa, Asia and Europe. All too often, the histories ignore this enormous sacrifice,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks at the event on Wednesday.

Ban along with President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador John Ashe released the 113-page book ‘Indian War Memorials of the First World War’ that contains a brief overview of the many battlefields where Indian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice.

The book provides details of the various war memorials across India, Europe, West Asia and Africa that honour individual Indian soldiers who gave their lives in defending international peace and security during the Great War.

Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Asoke Mukerji said the event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s letter of August 14, 1914 to the British Government, in which he had said that India’s voluntary participation in the war effort was “an earnest of our desire to share the responsibilities of membership of this great Empire, if we would share its privileges.”

Mukerji said 100 years later, the same sentiment prevails among the vast majority of the membership of the UN, who have been willingly sharing the responsibilities of the world body “in the hope that they would be allowed to share in its privileges as well.”

Ban said the world’s current conflicts may be “pale in comparison” to the two world wars but the “tragedy is just as profound.”