US, India to resume ops to find remains of WW II heroes



New Delhi: The US and India have agreed to resume operations to recover the remains of around 400 American soldiers who were believed to have died in air crashes in Northeastern parts of the country during World War II, a US Department of Defense release said.

However, official Indian sources said America expressed its desire to resume the mission for recovery of the remains of the US military personnel in Northeastern areas but remained silent on whether an agreement had been reached on the issue.

"The Department of Defense announces that the United States and India have agreed to resume remains recovery activities in parts of Northeastern India," the release said.

The development comes as US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon today.

"This is a critical step toward bringing home our service members lost during World War II. The US and India, working together, can help provide comfort to the families of Americans who were lost during the war," Panetta said.

In April 2012, Department of Defense representatives had participated in State Department-led bilateral discussions with the government of India where restarting the operations to recover the remains was addressed, the release said.

It said about 400 unaccounted-for servicemen in India died as a result of approximately 90 aircraft crashes and virtually all of those sites are located in Northeast India.

"The US possesses information on 16 known crash sites and continues to develop information on others. Some of the information was reported to the Department of Defense by private parties or through Indian press," it said.

PTI