The sacrifices and heroism of 800 Indian soldiers killed in the battle of El Alamein, fought 70 years ago in Egypt's north coast, were remembered at a special memorial service organised by the Indian Embassy in Cairo.
Navdeep Suri, the Ambassador of India to Egypt, and a number of senior diplomats and defence officials of friendly countries placed wreaths at the Indian Memorial on Saturday.
The simple and solemn ceremony was a part of the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and memorialised the selfless service of the courageous Indian soldiers, thousands of kilometres away from their motherland.
The El-Alamein battle sealed the Allied victory in North Africa. In the battle, which began in 1942, Allied forces led by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery defeated the Afrika Korps of Germany's Erwin Rommel.
The stellar role of the Indian soldiers in El Alamein, Ambassador Suri said, was recognised by German Field Marshal Rommel himself.
Suri drew attention to the book 'North African Campaign 1940-1943' by J K W Bingham and Warner Haupt which says the capture of Ruweisat Ridge in a combined attack of 5 Indian Division and New Zealand Division on 15 July 1942 was the turning point in the battle.
Almost 25,000 officers and men of the Indian army had participated in the North African campaign, and over 3,000 laid down their lives in the forbidding sands of the northern Sahara. The famous Battle for El Alamein alone accounted for 800 of these.
Suri pointed out that a majority of those martyred here were still in their teens. They included Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from different parts of the Indian subcontinent and the annual memorial service was meant to ensure that their sacrifices were not forgotten.