The Army Chief will be reaching Italy on July 7, and during his two day stay there he will be holding meetings with the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Staff of the Italian Army.
To further enhance military cooperation with European nations, the Indian Army Chief MM Naravane is currently visiting the UK and Italy. From the UK, the Army Chief will be reaching Italy on July 7, and during his two day stay there he will be holding meetings with the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Staff of the Italian Army.
The focus of talks is going to be on deepening defence cooperation with Italy and the inauguration of the memorial located in the famous town of Cassino which is 140 kms away from Rome, and also to be briefed by at the Italian Army’s Counter IED Centre of Excellence at Cecchignola, Rome.
Following the visit of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in 2017, the Defence relations between the two countries was revived in 2018, and the European nation is keen on being present in the Indian Defence sector.
European Union and Indo-Pacific
As has been reported in April, in Financial Express Online, the Council of the European Union has already approved an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. And had highlighted its aim to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development.
The Indo-Pacific region spreads from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states. In an official issued by the EU earlier this year, their long term focus is on respect for International Law, Human Rights, the rule of Law and most importantly democracy.
Developing partnerships in the areas of security and defence, maritime security, emerging technologies, terrorism, malicious cyber activities, as well as disinformation, are the focus of EU’s Indo-Pacific Policy. In September the European Commission will bring out a joint Communication on Cooperation within Indo-Pacific in September.
In this context the visit of the Indian Army Chief to Italy is very important.
India-Italy Defence Cooperation
Both sides are keen to further expand their defence relationship through greater two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, and co-development and co-production. Italy has been present in the Indian defence in various sectors including avionics, land systems, maritime systems and radars.
More about the War Memorial to be inaugurated by the Indian Army Chief
This war memorial located in Cassino town has been built to pay homage to over 5000 Indian soldiers. These soldiers lost their lives during the Second World War (1939-1945) fighting the Japanese and German forces.
During this period, according to reports in the public domain, the fourth, eighth, and tenth Indian Infantry Divisions were sent in. They were part of the battle for capturing Mount Cassino and the campaign that followed for the breaching of the Gothic line.
Indian soldiers in Italy during World War II
In Italy there are many cemeteries where the Indian soldiers are buried.
Few Italian Cities where the Indian soldiers had helped in liberating them during WW II include: Florence, Forli, Cesena, Luca, Perugia, San Marino, Ferrara and Bologna.
Prestigious Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross was awarded to six Indian soldiers who were part of the allied contingents fighting for the liberation of Italy.
More about the Liberation of Italy
The Italian Campaign of World War II is also famously known in the history books as the Liberation of Italy. And from 1943-1945, this campaign consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy.
Kaushik Roy in his book “Indian Army in World War II” that the Indian Army was the largest volunteer force during WWII, with over 2.5 million (more than 20 lakh) Indians participating.
They fought the Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan), as part of the Allies. And, by 1945, the Allies had won, Italy had been liberated, Adolf Hitler was dead and India was barely a couple years short of independence.
In July 1943, the Joint Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) planned and led the Invasion of Sicily; this was followed by the invasion of the Italian mainland in September and the Campaign in Italy until the surrender of German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945.
The invasion of Sicily led to the collapse of Fascist Italian Regime and the fall of Benito Mussolini in 1943 was overthrown and arrested.