UK Road Accident: Six Indian Soldiers Still Remain in Hospital, Joint Exercise Continues
NEW DELHI: Twenty-one Indian and two British soldiers had been injured in a major crash in south-west England, while they were returning from a joint India-UK army exercise, Ajeya warrior on Wednesday. Six soldiers still remain in the hospital, even as the 15-day exercise continues ahead.
The collision involved three troop carriers in a by-way while return from Salisbury Plain, which is the British Army’s largest training ground, at 6.10 p.m on Wednesday.
“A number of soldiers were injured in the incident. Casualties were treated at the scene and taken by emergency services to Southampton General and Salisbury District Hospitals. Others were treated at the Army Medical Centre at Westdown Camp,” said commander of British Army’s 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales, Brigadier Martyn Gamble in an update on Thursday.
In a joint statement with the Indian high commission’s military advisor, Brigadier Rajesh Kumar Jha, the senior British army officer confirmed that six soldiers still remain in hospital, but refused to give further details.
“We continue to receive updates on their condition, but will not be commenting further. The families of those involved have been informed and our thoughts are with all those affected by the incident at this time,” said Brigadier Gamble.
“The British and Indian Armies would like to thank the emergency services for their outstanding response and the superb care they have administered to our soldiers,” he said.
Earlier, the local police spokesperson had said that there were reports of “four to five people with life-changing” injuries and 16 other “walking wounded”. There were reports that one Indian soldier had to get his leg amputated.
The investigation is being done by Wiltshire police.
He further said that the joint exercise which takes every other year will not be stalled due the accident.
About 120 soldiers from Indian Army’s first Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment participated in the joint exercise, which is scheduled to take place from June 13-28.
“The UK and India share a very strong Defence relationship. This exercise, which includes both Regular and Reserve soldiers builds upon this by integrating an Indian infantry company into a British battalion to share expertise and techniques in demanding combat scenarios. The exercise continues,” asserted Brigadier Gamble.
The Indian army chief Dalbir Singh had himself visited the Salisbury plains training area on Wednesday to witness the joint exercise and met with Indian and British participants.