Amarinder Singh acknowledged the courage of all soldiers at an event. (File)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said he deplored attempts to “politicise” the defence forces, asserting that the personnel were meant to report only to their regimental heads and not work at the behest of the political dispensation.
He said there was an immediate end to the “current cult of political interference” in the functioning of defence services, to enable the officers and soldiers to discharge their duties efficaciously.
The Congress leader said it was necessary in the larger interest of the nation to secure its unity, integrity and security.
Mr Singh condemned the attempts to politicise” the defence forces, asserting the personnel were meant to report only to their regimental heads and not work at the behest of the political dispensation.
He was addressing a gathering at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Chandigarh which paid homage to commonwealth nations’ armed forces personnel who sacrificed their lives during World War I.
A two-minute silence was observed in memory of the martyrs, an official release said.
The chief minister said the exemplary valour and indomitable courage of all soldiers in preserving the ethos of freedom, liberty and democratic values had remained largely unrecognised. He noted nearly 74,000 Indian soldiers attained martyrdom and 67,000 were wounded in this war.
While most Indians were aware of the sacrifices made by millions of people in the Independence struggle, the supreme contribution of the brave men who fought in the Great War was largely forgotten, the chief minister said.
He called for aggressively propagating the nation’s rich military history among the youths to make them more aware about the glorious legacy of the armed forces.
Underscoring the need to acclimatise the younger generation with the past events, Mr Singh advocated for inclusion of detailed chapters on India’s contribution both in World War 1 and 2 in school curriculum.
Referring to his recent visit to Turkey’s Gallipoli’s Helles and Turkish memorials, where he paid his respects to the martyred Commonwealth soldiers, including Indians, he said there was a marked difference in the awareness levels of youth about the military exploits compared to India.
Earlier, British Deputy High Commissioner in Chandigarh, Andrew Ayre lauded the role played by Indian soldiers in the war.
Canadian Consulate General Mia Yen also paid glowing tributes to the soldiers in securing peace, prosperity and democratic freedom for their future generations.