Daljit Sehbai
Vice Chairman
Mihir Bose
Sanmukh Singh Baxi
General Secretary
Jeet Sahgal
Joint Secretary
Hitesh Tailor
7 Upper Montagu
Street, London
India and British indian News

NCBI Tribute to the Forgotten Heroes

A 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 fought together to make the 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 lost their lives and many more were severely injured. These brave Indians should not remain as the forgotten heroes”.

Baroness Shreela Flather spoke about her efforts to get the Memorial Gates built near Buckingham Place and the difficulties she faced in raising funds for it.
Mihir Bose, distinguished journalist and broadcaster, spoke of the political implications of the Japanese victories in Asia against the mighty British Empire during World War II and its effect on the struggle for India’s independence.

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 sacrifices of Indian soldiers in the two World Wars and hoped that this will become an annual event.

Minister of State in the Department of International Development, Gareth Thomas, representing the Prime Minister, praised the role played by the Indian Army currently 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 gratitude Britain owes to the Indian Army for its help in defeating Hitler and the Fascist forces during World War II. 

His Excellency, 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. India’s contribution to the First World War, he said, included 1.3 million soldiers, 172,815 animals, and 3.7 million tons of supplies. Indian casualties were nearly 121,600 including 53,486 dead, 64,350 wounded, and 3,762 missing or imprisoned.  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 was with the Indian Army during World war II; and Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the UK-India Buisness Council. Brig. Anil Mehta, Military Advisor to the Indian High Commission, and a number of Indian ex-servicemen were also there to pay their tribute.

Tributes from the floor were paid to P.S. Bhagat who won Victoria Cross during World War II, and Princess Noor Inayat Khan, the SOE agent, who worked under cover in France and was captured and executed by the Germans when she was only 30 years old.

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