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US Ambassador To India Inaugurates Hump World War II Museum In Arunachal Pradesh

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ITANAGAR, Nov 29: US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti on Wednesday inaugurated ‘The Hump WWII Museum’ in Arunachal Pradesh, the second museum in Asia, dedicated to the fallen airmen of the Allied forces during World War II.

The ‘Hump World War II’ museum at Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh will pay tribute to ‘Hump Operation’, one of the most remarkable feats of aviation history.

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“We come here today not just to mark history but to make history. To see the ways with which each one of us is called not just to witness the past but to do something to change the future,” Garcetti said on the occasion.

He profusely thanked and expressed gratitude to the Indian government, the Arunachal Pradesh government and the team behind the museum headed by its director Oken Tayeng.

“This is not a gift only to Arunachal Pradesh or to the families whose lives will be affected when they come here but it is a gift to India and to the world,” he said.

The Hump Museum, Garcetti claimed, is not just a museum in some remote part of India, but already a world-class museum.

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Reiterating that the United States is committed to its friendship with India, the US Ambassador informed that on Wednesday there was a meeting between NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and top space officials of India to deepen bilateral cooperation across a broad range of innovation and research-related areas, especially in human exploration and Earth science.

He said that NASA this year would facilitate an Indian to be a part of space exploration from its station in the US.

Reminding that the US will always remain grateful to the people of Arunachal Pradesh for saving lives and helping US pilots and soldiers during WW-II while flying over the Hump, Garcetti said that such ‘human values’ binds the two countries together in friendship.

“Today how can we not but step up to be a great friend to India, to recognize her borders, all of them, and to respect them and to call on the world to do the same,” he said.

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Chief Minister Pema Khandu, while welcoming the Ambassador and his entourage, said ‘The Hump Museum’ was a tribute from the people of Arunachal Pradesh to the fallen heroes of the WW-II.

He said that history should not be allowed to fade away with time and expressed optimism that the museum will remind the younger generation of the daredevilry of the Allied forces who flew over the ‘Hump’ to fight against the threat to democracy and freedom.

Khandu urged the US Ambassador to facilitate exploration in 30 locations in the state where remnants of WW II aircraft are still believed to exist and assured full support of the state government.

He also lauded the efforts put in by Oken Tayeng and his team for making his vision a reality.

“All the remnants and relics including, letters of US airmen communicating to their families recovered from the crash sites, are being displayed in the museum which will soon attract tourists from across the globe,” he said.

Tayeng said the remnants of crushed warplanes available in the museum were collected from eight sites in the state.

“Lot of challenges faced by the search teams to recover the remnants of the fallen aircraft,” Tayeng added.

During World War II, the Allied Forces led by the United States flew supplies over the Himalayas. The route was known as ‘The Hump’ because of the altitude of the Eastern Himalayas. Many of their aircraft went missing in Arunachal Pradesh and were never found in the remote jungles and mountains.

The Hump route traverses regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tibet, Yunnan (China) and Myanmar, and it is estimated that nearly 650 aircraft crashed in these areas during World War II due to the extreme flying conditions.

In 1942, when the Japanese Army blocked the 1,150 km Burma Road, a mountain highway connecting Lashio in present-day Myanmar and Kunming in China, the US-led allied forces had to undertake one of the biggest airlifts in aviation history.

The pilots of the Allied forces nicknamed the route ‘The Hump’ because their aircraft had to navigate deep gorges and then quickly fly over mountains rising beyond 10,000 feet.

From 1942 to 1945, military aircraft transported nearly 6,50,000 tonne of supplies like fuel, food and ammunition from airfields in Assam to those in Yunnan in China.

According to a US Embassy handout in 2017, investigators from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) returned to India that year to continue the search for remains of US personnel missing since World War II.

In 2016, the DPAA deployed a team in northeast India for 30 days in search of remains of unaccounted-for US airmen.

There are approximately 400 US airmen missing in India, most of whose remains are believed to be located in the Himalayan Mountains in northeast India. (PTI)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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