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Indian contribution in WW-I not recognised well: group

Recalling the contribution of Indian soldiers in the World War I, an association of Indians in Victoria today sought the participation of the community in celebrating the ANZAC day that commemorates the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2010 14:24 IST

Recalling the contribution of Indian soldiers in the World War I, an association of Indians in Victoria on Sunday sought the participation of the community in celebrating the ANZAC day that commemorates the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

The ANZAC day is celebrated to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I during which Indian soldiers participated alongside their Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

"When war broke out in 1914 on August 4th India rallied to the Allied cause. Those with influence within India believed that the interests of India would best be served by helping Britain in whatever capacity India could.

"Offers of financial help and military help were made from all over India," said Federation of Indian Association of Victoria (FIAV) President Vasan Srinivasan in a statement.

Ruing the lack of participation or recognition of the Indian contribution to the Allied War effort at any ceremony commemorating either Armistice Day (November 11th) or on ANZAC Day (25th April), Srinivasan said: "It should be noted, that Indian Troops were on the Western Front by the winter of 1914 and fought at the first Battle of Ypres".

He pointed out that a total of 800,000 Indian troops fought in all theatres of the war with 1.5 million volunteering to fight.

"They fought in most theatres of the Great War including with Australians on the Gallipoli Peninsular. It was a sacrifice that amounted to 47,756 dead or missing and 65,000 wounded.

"Yet major commemorations like ANZAC DAY we have no participation of Australian Indians providing recognition of the contribution India made to the British and Allied War effort.

He sais it is notable that the Indian Army won 13,000 medals for bravery including 12 Victoria Crosses.

"Khundadad Khan won the first Victoria Cross," Srinivasan pointed out.

"It is time for the Indian efforts in the Great War be recognised because like many young Australians, young Indians also sacrificed their lives for the defence of liberty and democracy and were also a member of the British Empire and Commonwealth," he added.