Search for remains of US soldiers hits roadblock - The New Indian Express

Search for remains of US soldiers hits roadblock

Published: 29th September 2012 10:17 AM

Last Updated: 29th September 2012 10:17 AM

The recent ethnic violence in Assam that kept the Indian government on tenterhooks has also dealt a blow to the US efforts to search for the remains of American soldiers who died in air crashes in the northeast India during World War-II campaigns.

After the India-US political military dialogue in June this year, the bereaved families of the missing American soldiers were hopeful of giving a closure to the search of their loved ones after six decades as India positively considered the request of the US government to resume search in the region.

However, to fulfill its motto of ‘No one left behind’, the US government will have to wait longer as the resumption of search has been postponed till next year.

“Due to the recent escalation of ethnic violence in northeast India, the Government of India has officially postponed all JPAC operations in India until spring 2013,” the US’ Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) said on its website. The search was suspended in 2009.

Hundreds of soldiers are reported to be missing in the region known as the ‘hump’ -- the eastern end of the Himalayas, over which American pilots used to run air supply lines to refurbish its own air force units and the army of Chiang Kai Shek. In US army parlance, it was also called the ‘China-Burma-India’ theatre of operations.

According to Indian official sources, at least 94 soldiers are said to have died in crashes in the region which now lies within the Indian territory.

As per the website of the US military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), more than 400 defence personnel are unaccounted for in this region, though it is not clear in which country the remains will be found.

The JPAC teams had conducted investigations thrice in India in 2008 and 2009, but the operation had been suspended for more than two years.

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