MG is a senior air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a voracious writer on military history.
World War II was a watershed in the history of the world in the 20th century. The defeat of Hitler shaped the present world order. The Western countries, notably the UK and the USA generally do not acknowledge the pivotal role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of Germany. Impartial historians have commented that victory against the Germans would not have been possible without the active participation of the Soviet Union.
Russia celebrates the victory of the Soviet Union in what they call the 'Great Patriotic War' over Germany every year. This year the celebration, as usual, was to be held in the month of May but the spread of the China virus led to the parade being postponed. Now it will be held on 24 June.
Many countries that fought against the Germans will be taking part in the parade. India is one of the countries taking part in this victory parade. The Indians have sent a 75 member contingent headed by a Colonel to take part in the celebrations.Armies of 18 countries will take part in the victory parade.
The Indian Army which made a significant contribution to the Allied victory both in North Africa and Burma has also not been given its due by the western world historians. Despite this apathy, nearly 3,000,000 Indians soldiers much more than any contribution by countries like Canada and Australia took part in the war. The success of the North African campaign of the British Army under Field Marshall Montgomery had a significant complement of Indian troops notably the No 4 division that fought gloriously.
In the east, the Indian Army then known as the British Indian Army was instrumental in driving the Japanese out of Burma, Malaysia, and Singapore. India is a special invitee to the military parade and the Indian contingent is already in Moscow and has taken part in dress rehearsals.
The Indian contingent has landed in Moscow. The Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh who has been invited by the Russian Defense Minister will also attend the parade. The British Indian Armed Forces during World War-II were one of the largest Allied Forces contingents to participate in the North and East African Campaign, Western Desert Campaign, and the European Theatre. These campaigns witnessed the death of 87 thousand Indian servicemen and thousands injured.
The Indian Military fought on all fronts including Burma but also ensured logistic support along the Southern, Trans-Iranian Lend-Lease route. This route saw the delivery of weapons, ammunition, equipment support, and food to Russia.
The valor of the Indian soldiers led to over 4000 awards for bravery including 18 Victoria and George Cross. In addition, the then Soviet Union acknowledged the contribution of the Indian Armed forces and by the decree of 23 May 1944, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR signed by Mikhail Kalinin and Alexander Gorkin awarded the prestigious Orders of the Red Star to Subedar Narayan Rao Nikkam and Havildar Gajendra Singh Chand of Royal Indian Army Service Corps. The Indian Army supply Corps had a big hand in the supply of ammunition and food to Russia in the famous Lend-Lease act of President Roosevelt. They gave security through Iran.
The marching contingent taking part in the Victory Day Parade will be led by a major of the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. The parade through red Square is a gala event in Russia. Old-timers will remember that this parade was always presided over by the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin till 1953. After his demise, the members of the Politburo stood in line with the first secretary of the Communist Party and reviewed the parade. At that time the way and the position in which the members of the Politburo stood gave a clue to the Western powers about the standing of a particular individual in the communist party hierarchy. Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev stood on the podium on Red Square for many years. This year it will be Vladimir Putin.
The parade is a gala affair in Russia. India has a long association with the erstwhile Soviet Union and now its successor state Russia that goes back to 60 years. President Putin will take the salute during the Victory Day parade and the Indian contingent will be marching replete with turbans and ceremonial dress. India is also a regular participant in the military games organized by the Russians including the tank competitions called the Biathlon.
In times of need, Russians have always stood by the Indians and now the latest request by India for the MIG 29 and SU 30 are being honored by Russia. India is also buying from Russia the S 400 missile system.
Indian and Chinese armies have just had a scrap on the border area of Ladakh. China has also sent a large contingent for the parade and both the Indian and Chinese contingents will be marching together during the victory parade. What an irony.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 11, 2020:
Flourish, thank you. I can understand your sentiments.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 11, 2020:
I sorry but I kinda cringed a little inside that they did this knowing all that Putin represents. I assume it took place as planned given the pandemic. It’s important to consider what Russia represents vs. what India wants to be.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 21, 2020:
Thank you, Col for your comment
Lt Col Parduman Singh on June 21, 2020:
Very informative. I liked it and I feel happy that the Indian contingent will march in Red Square.