Pasighat: A unique museum showcasing remnants of an aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh during World War II is nearing completion and will be inaugurated soon, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has said.
‘The Hump WW2 Museum’ in Pasighat will pay tributes to ‘Hump Operation’, one of the most remarkable feats of aviation history, he said.
During World War II, the Allied Forces led by the United States flew supplies over the Himalayas. The route was known as “The Hump’ because of the altitude of the Eastern Himalayas. Many of their aircraft went missing in Arunachal Pradesh and were never found in the remote jungles and mountains.”
“The Hump route traverses regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tibet, Yunnan (China) and Myanmar, and it is estimated that nearly 650 aircraft crashed in these areas during World War II due to the extreme flying conditions,” Khandu said on Wednesday evening, after reviewing the progress of the ongoing work here.
“The Hump WW2 Museum’ will showcase the remnants of an American aircraft that crashed in the state during World War II and other important artefacts related to these events.”
“The museum is nearing completion and will be inaugurated soon,” the chief minister said.
The museum is being set up at the initiative of Khandu and the state government is planning to invite the United States ambassador to India for the inauguration, an official said.
In 1942, when the Japanese Army blocked the 1,150 km Burma Road, a mountain highway connecting Lashio in present-day Myanmar and Kunming in China, the US-led allied forces had to undertake one of the biggest airlifts in aviation history.
The pilots of the Allied forces nicknamed the route ‘The Hump’ because their aircraft had to navigate deep gorges and then quickly fly over mountains rising beyond 10,000 feet.
From 1942 to 1945, military aircraft transported nearly 6,50,000 tonnes of supplies like fuel, food and ammunition from airfields in Assam to those in Yunnan in China.
The mountains of Arunachal Pradesh often get unpredictable weather within minutes, zero visibility within seconds and sudden heavy winds, making it difficult for planes and choppers to fly even now.
According to a US Embassy handout in 2017, investigators from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) returned to India that year to continue the search for remains of US personnel missing since World War II.
In 2016, the DPAA deployed a team to northeast India for 30 days in search of remains of unaccounted-for US airmen. The 2017 was their fifth mission to India since 2013.
“There are approximately 400 US airmen missing in India, most of whose remains are believed to be located in the Himalayan Mountains in northeast India.”
“During World War II, the United States provided supplies to the Chinese Army by flying over the Himalayas, a route known as ‘The Hump’. Many of these aircraft went missing and were never found in the mountainous terrain,” the US embassy had said.
(Published 26 October 2023, 09:03 IST)