After nearly 70 years of waiting, families of those who died in the US Air Force B-24 bomber plane which crashed at the height of World War II in India would be handed over the final remains of soldiers.
On April 13, American soldier were handed the excavated remains of the soldiers and missing pieces of the US Bomber that had crashed at what is now present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
The excavated remains were handed over in the presence of US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who on April 12 had overseen a repatriation ceremony for the US World War II.
During the ceremony, Carter also expressed his gratitude to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Indian government for all their support in facilitating the recovery effort.
Twitter US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (L)
In a joint statement, Carter and Parrikar said:
“The Indian government agreed to support America’s commitment to bringing its fallen personnel home and providing their families the fullest possible accounting, and looks forward to further humanitarian missions of this kind over the next few years to return the remains of these US heroes to their families.”
The decision about the repatriation was taken last year when US President Barack Obama had visited India in January 2015.
Indian Express US President Barack Obama (L) during his India visit in 2015
Back in December 2006, the wreckage of a US B-24 bomber nicknamed ‘Hot as Hell’
was also located at Damroh village in Arunachal Pradesh. After which families of US soldiers had asked the matter to be perused further.
But the previous UPA government had stopped the recovery of remains after objections were raised by China, that Arunachal Pradesh was their territory.
After UPA government finished their tenure, the Narendra Modi government gave the Americans fresh permission to recover the bodies of their crewmen. Their plane had crashed while flying resupply missions between Assam and Kunming in China. According to the US Department of Defence, over 500 aircraft are still listed as missing in the China-India-Burma theatre of the Second World War.