Pranab Mukherjee pays respect to 'unknown' Indian soldiers in Second World War

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea:  President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday paid homage to the soldiers, including many Indians, killed during World War-II, while fighting along with the British forces, and laid to rest at Bomana cemetery in Papua New Guinea.

Mukherjee, the supreme commander of Indian armed forces, walked up to a pillar erected in memory of the troops and placed a wreath there.

This was the second engagement of Mukherjee, who arrived here on Thursday, on the first ever state visit from India to this largest island in the Pacific.

President Pranab Mukherjee laying a wreath at Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. PTI.

President Pranab Mukherjee laying a wreath at Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. PTI.

Immediately after meeting with the Governor General of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Sir Michael Ogio, the president drove to the war cemetery, located 20 km from there.

As he placed the wreath, a Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) band sounded the "Last Post," signifying the end of the troops' journey in life. A minutes' silence was observed in their memory after which Mukherjee went around the cemetery.

The cemetery contains 3,824 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, out of which 699 of them are unidentified. Around 250 of the unidentified soldiers are from undivided India, who were fighting along with the British and allied forces.

Indian High Commissioner to PNG, Nagendra Kumar Saxena, has been extensively working on the role of Indians during the World War.

During the banquet hosted by the Ogio, in honour of the President last night, the Governor General also said the link between the two countries goes back to the Second World War in which Indian servicemen, some 615 brave sons who were part of the British Army and Allied Forces, fought and died in PNG.

"Their mortal remains lie buried in war cemeteries throughout the country," he said.

The troops were fighting the Japanese forces who had landed at Lae and Salamaua in March 1942 with Port Moresby as their chief objective.

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Updated Date: Apr 29, 2016 13:24:39 IST

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