Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid homage to soldiers in the Indian cemetery in Haifa, who laid down their lives protecting the city from the forces of the Ottoman Empire during World War 1. The Indian Brigade was part of the Allied Forces which swept northwards through Palestine in 1918. Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 70 years, was accompanied by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to the cemetery where he laid a wreath in honour of the soldiers. The two leaders unveiled a plaque to commemorate the soldiers.
“This is the final resting place for 44 of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I to liberate the city,” Modi had said prior to his visit to the post city, reported news agency PTI. The Indian Army celebrates September 23 as Haifa Day every year, and pays respect to the two Indian Cavalry Regiments, Jodhpur Lancers and the Mysore Lancers.
Captain Aman Singh Bahadur and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anop Singh and 2nd Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition of their bravery during the battle. Major Dalpat Singh (MC), also called the ‘Hero of Haifa’ for his critical role in the battle, was awarded a military cross for his bravery. Read: What is the significance of Haifa Cemetery. Click here.
Every year, the Haifa municipality hosts a ceremony to remember the two Indian cavalry regiments that had helped liberate the city following action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade. In 2012, the municipality also included stories of the soldiers’ valiant efforts in school curricula.
Before leaving the cemetery, Modi signed the Visitors’ Book.
Modi and Netanyahu, following bilateral talks, signed seven pacts on Wednesday to cooperate in space, water management and agriculture. From Israel, he will depart to Germany to attend the G20 Summit.
(With inputs from PTI)