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Arunachal: Pema Khandu and US Ambassador to India inaugurate ‘The Hump WWII Museum’ at Pasighat

This is the 2nd museum in Asia dedicated to the fallen airmen of the Allied forces during the WWII.....

PASIGHAT-  Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti today inaugurated ‘The Hump WWII Museum’, the 2nd museum in Asia dedicated to the fallen airmen of the Allied forces during the WWII at Pasighat here.

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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,” said Garcetti in a ceremony to mark the occasion.

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

“This isn’t 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, Garcetti claimed, isn’t just a museum in some remote part of India, half the world round from the US but already a world class museum.

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.

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Reminding that the US will always remain grateful to the people of Arunachal Pradesh for saving lives and helping US pilots and soldiers during the WWII 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.

Khandu, while welcoming the Ambassador and his entourage, said ‘The Hump’ was a tribute from the people of Arunachal Pradesh to the fallen heroes of the WWII.

He said that history should not be allowed to fade away with time and expressed optimism that this 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.

Informing that about 30 locations, where remnants of WWII aircrafts are still believed to exist, Khandu urged the US Ambassador to facilitate exploration to these locations to retrieve the remnants 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.

The pilots of the Allied forces nicknamed the air-route from airfields in Assam to those in Yunnan in China ‘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 tonnes of supplies like fuel, food and ammunition.

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In 2016-17, the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) had deployed a team 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 the North East, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh.

The US Ambassador was accompanied by Graham Mayer, Political Minister Counselor, A Sukesh, Senior Political/Labour Advisor, Col Aaron Cooper and Col Douglas Hess, US Air Force, Air Attaché and a team from US Consulate, Kolkata headed by Jeffrey Sakurai, Management Officer.

The inaugural ceremony was also attended by MLAs Kaling Moyong, Lombo Tayeng and Ninong Ering, Chief Secretary Dharmendra and others.

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