Russia on Tuesday promised to look into India’s request to share any information it has on the seven-decade-old mystery surrounding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The issue was raised by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj during her meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
“The Russian Minister said he will look into the matter and will let India know if there was any information,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The development came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that India will declassify files on Bose beginning January 23 next year.
Bose’s family feels a number of countries including Japan, Russia, Germany and Britain have information on his disappearance. During a meeting with Netaji’s family last week, Prime Minister Modi declared that “there is no need to strangle history”. Modi told the family members that he would also urge the foreign governments to declassify files on Bose available with them by writing to them and personally taking it up with their leaders.
Successive governments have refused to make public these documents, arguing that India’s relations with foreign countries would be jeopardised. Modi’s office too had stated till August this year that the files cannot be declassified as it will adversely affect relations with foreign countries. The demands for declassification of secret files have been growing lately, especially after the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal last month declassified 64 files which were in its possession.
The files, running into nearly 13,000 pages, showed some of Bose’s close family members were spied on in independent India but there was no clarity whether he died in an air crash in 1945 as is widely believed. Some of his family members have rejected the theory that he had died in the plane crash in Taihoku in Taiwan on August 18 that year.