A crowded meeting organised by the National Council of British Indians in a packed Committee Room of the House Commons paid tribute to thousands of Indian soldiers killed and injured in World War I and World War II.
In his opening remarks, Daljit Sehbai, Chairman of the National Council of British Indians said that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians all fought together to make Indian Army a formidable force.
With more than 2.5 million volunteers, it was the second largest force fighting Hitler and the Axis powers. Thousands of men were killed and many more were severely injured. These brave men should not remain as the forgotten heroes.
Baroness Shreela Flather spoke about her efforts to get the Memorial Gates built near Buckingham Place. Mihir Bose, the distinguished journalist and broadcaster, spoke of the political implications in the aftermath of World War II.
Dr. Ashok Kumar, MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on India praised the efforts of the National Council of British Indians in making every one aware of the sacrifice of Indian soldiers in the two World Wars and hoped that it will become an annual event.
Minister of State in the Department of International Department, Gareth Thomas, representing the Prime Minister, praised the role played by the Indian Army these days as part of the UN peacekeeping force in many troubled spots in the world.
This and other factors, he said, made a justifiable case for India becoming a permanent member of the Security Council. Dominic Grieve, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, representing Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, spoke of the deep gratitude Britain owes to the Indian Army for its help in defeating Hitler and the fascist forces during World War II. Asoke Mukerji, Deputy High Commissioner of India, praised the efforts of the National Council of British Indians and the help given to them by the All Party Parliamentary Group on India to organise this event in the House of Commons.
He also read out names of many Indians who won the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military honour.
Other Speakers included Shailesh Vara, MP, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House; Viscount Slim; who fought with the Indian Army during World War II, and Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of UK-India Business Council. (ANI)