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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Britain to support Indian World War vets who lost out on benefits

UK's International Development Secretary to announce new programme to look after servicemen and their widows

Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt arrives in Downing Street in London, Britain, October 29, 2018. Reuters
Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt arrives in Downing Street in London, Britain, October 29, 2018. Reuters

The UK government unveiled plans to offer support to Indian soldiers who fought for Britain during the two World Wars but lost out on pensions and other benefits.

UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the government was keen to rectify the injustice faced by Indian and other Commonwealth war veterans, many of whose families live in harsh conditions in their countries, the Press Trust of India .

Ms Mordaunt was speaking as guest of honour at a function organised by the Punjabi Society of the British Isles in London last week.

“I will announce a new programme that will take care of these servicemen and veterans and their widows for the rest of their lives,” she said.

“And I think that is a great example of the values and the shared humanity among the members of the Commonwealth that the Punjabi Society exhibits.”

The programme will be a partnership between the Royal British Legion and the Department for International Development’s UK Aid initiative.

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On Thursday, Ms Mordaunt announced an aid funding of £12 million (Dh57.2m) to help thousands of impoverished war veterans who served with the British military across the Commonwealth.

The money would be used to provide two meals a day and regular cash transfers to 7,000 veterans and war widows

Britain was yesterday to give India the “war diaries”, official records of units for which Indians fought, from its archives. The diaries would almost all be accounts by British officers.

Among the other functions and events that are planned for the centenary commemoration of the Armistice Day is the unveiling of a war memorial at Villiers Guislain, a village in the north of France.

There cavalry brigades of Indian soldiers threw themselves at German guns in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. Dafadar Gobind Singh was awarded the Victoria Cross for that battle.