With a world that is still reeling under power struggles and equating geo-political imbalances, the world is commemorating the fateful day of Armistice of 11th November, 1918.
This marks the 99th year of ending the disastrous World War 1 which saw a great materialistic divide being fuelled by imperialistic designs of the European nations. Subsequent to the World War 1 there was another horrifying war which ended in 1945.
The war story since goes on. Humanity seems to have been engaged in a perpetual conflict of existence and dominance though today’s warfare has changed dramatically.
India in the days bygone was a colony of the British. The British held strategic influential war lines which needed military support. India was perhaps the largest colony with an array of largest trained and most adaptive soldiers.
Soldiery in Indian homes was a profession since ages and people took pride in it. The British organised this skill and used it for their own advantage. There were wide protests that Indian soldiers did not want to take up the assignments overseas and the leaders of those days, particularly Gandhi was aware of the meanings the war had for the nation in the making.
The Indian soldiers lost their lives battling in the continental frontiers and gave tough resistance to the Ottoman forces in Africa and the middle East. The Indian lives lost in the war were around 1 Lakh. India also paid for the war expenses drastically by getting exploited of its material reserves and gold.
Today, the world is again dealing with a changed scenario which is witnessing the growth of the Dragon, Brexit and a weak US. The Islamist terrorist organisations have incessantly tried to tear the world into pieces and create an ugly world for all those living in it.
Not only the warfare but the economic advance followed by rampant industrialisation and urbanisation since then has led to worse catastrophes in the world around. The environmental disasters, industrial disasters and epidemics are few. The cyber attacks, biological warfare and economic warfare are new forms of waging wars.
The lessons learnt since the World War 1 have made a good impact and now, countries have chosen a responsible trajectory and there is an ever developing international jurisprudence, helping the world to combat issues through extensive dialogues and on logical lines.
The scope of personal ambitions has been replaced by collective ambitions of the masses which tend to make the world a better place. India for its part has learnt the philosophy of Non-Alignment and Panchsheel principles of mutual co-existence.
The Indian army has never supplied its forces for active combat roles but it is the largest armed force contributing to the UN Peace Missions worldwide which aims to make the world a better place.
The road ahead lies with India assuming greater and responsible roles in international power games and fostering conciliation as and when possible. The Non-Alignment resolve has paid rich dividends and allies that have helped India to look beyond the future.
This will make Indian diplomacy rise across the world and make a peace process more felt, while at the same time taking the principle of ‘vasudaiva kutumbakam’, meaning the world is but one country.
With our respects and memories to all those who lost their lives in the World War 1, we pray for a peaceful tomorrow. Jai Hind.