United Nations : The sacrifices of the 85,000 Indian Army personnel who gave their lives fighting the Axis Powers were remembered Tuesday at a commemoration of the victims of World War II amid a grim warning that today terrorism threatens to engulf the world in as great a carnage.
“For millennia in India, it has been the philosophy of upholding the values of good over evil that has guided the code of the warrior,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant S. Bishnoi said at the General Assembly commemoration.
“It is with this perspective that Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence, supported Indian participation in the two World Wars despite our then ongoing struggle against colonial rule,” he said.
The 2.5 million Indians who joined armed forces made up “the largest volunteer force ever raised in history,” he added.
But colossal threats to peace world-wide have emerged again, this time in the form of terrorism and they require a global response, Bishnoi said.
“Today, terrorism has emerged as one of the greatest threats to humankind,” he said. “It threatens to expand its reach and engulf the world in carnage similar to what we witnessed during the two World Wars.”
“Terrorism is a global phenomenon and can only be defeated by global action,” he said. “We need to ensure that we are not found wanting in our efforts.”
Speaking of India’s participation in the World War II Allied efforts, Bishnoi highlighted the role Indian women who served as nurses and as members of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps “performing vital tasks for the war effort just behind the front lines.”
“They drove army vehicles, operated switchboards and worked as mechanics,” he said. “During the evacuation of Myanmar — then called Burma-Indian women often stayed at their posts and continued to send vital messages over the telegraph lines to help ensure the escape of as many civilians as possible. Many died and many were captured to endure terrible hardship and deprivation in prisoner-of-war camps.”
The Indian Women’s Auxiliary Corps was formed in 1942 and over 11,500 women volunteered to serve in it.