Indian Army

Contributions of Indian soldiers during second World War overlooked, says former Army chief VP Malik

By The Week

In order to avoid ‘politicisation’ of Indian armed forces, former soldiers of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose-led Indian National Army (INA) were not inducted into Indian Army, according to the former Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik.

“INA soldiers were not inducted into Indian Army. The idea was to keep the Army apolitical institution,” General Malik said, adding that the decision was taken by Indian military leadership on the basis of multiple studies on the issue. On the recommendation of Lord Mountbatten and with the agreement of Jawaharlal Nehru, former soldiers of the INA were not allowed to join the new Indian Armed Forces as a condition for Independence.

General Malik was speaking during a panel discussion on the book ‘Saving the World from Hitler: India’s Battles in the Second World War’, written by R. Prasannan. Published by THE WEEK, the book talks about the contributions of Indian soldiers in the second World War.

The former Army chief said the contributions of Indian soldiers were neglected despite the fact that when the war started, the Indian Army had close to 200,000 men, including a few thousand British officers and soldiers, but, when the war ended, they were a force of 2.5 million, after 87,000 dead and 64,000 injured.

While complimenting THE WEEK for bringing out the book, he said the book described the human touch of the war. “People generally say that World Wars were white men’s war not India’s. Nearly 6,300 gallantry decorations were awarded to Indian soldiers, including 31 Victoria Crosses, the highest military gallantry honour. We should not forget sacrifice of Indian soldiers,” General Malik said, and added that its an ideal book for the young generation to know about valour and sacrifice of Indian soldiers.

He added that the though the book has come 76 year after the WW II, it is part of India’s commemoration of 75th year of India’s independence.

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