Antony pays homage to Indian soldiers at Berlin war memorial

May 26th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

Berlin, May 26 (IANS) Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday visited the Berlin War Cemetery to pay homage to the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives while fighting for the Allied cause during World War II. “Antony, who arrived in Berlin Sunday to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the Berlin Air Show, paid homage at a simple but solemn ceremony,” a statement issued here by the Indian defence ministry said.

Immediately after Antony arrived at the cemetery, a detachment of the smartly dressed German guards stepped forward to assist the minister in placing a wreath at the memorial on which it is inscribed: “Their name liveth for ever more”.

“I salute to the heroic memory of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their precious lives,” Antony wrote in the Visitor’s Book at the cemetery.

The Berlin War Cemetery is located in the western part of the City. Almost 3,600 casualties from the Commonwealth countries are commemorated at this site. The majority are airmen who lost their lives in air raids over Berlin and other towns of Germany. The remaining are those who died as prisoners of war, some of them in the forced march into Germany from camps in Poland ahead of advancing Russian troops.

A total of 162 soldiers of undivided India have been laid to rest in 17 locations in Germany. Of these, 50 have been commemorated in the Berlin War Cemetery. The soldiers belonged to the armoured corps, artillery, infantry, the Army Service Corps, the Madras Sappers, the Army Remount Corps and the Army Ordnance Corps.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the Berlin War Cemetery. The cost of the maintenance is shared by the partner nations, including India. The British Occupation Authorities and Commission officials selected the site for the cemetery jointly in 1945, soon after the war ended.

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