The Hump WWII Museum dedicated to fallen airmen of the Allied forces was on Wednesday inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti at Pasighat.
“This unique museum, second in Asia, pays tribute to the 1600 fallen US airmen, showcasing remnants of aircraft from World War II.,” Khandu posted on X.
This is Garcetti’s first visit to the frontier state, which neighbouring China claims as an extension of South Tibet. In the past, US ambassadors Richard R Varma (2016) and Kenneth Ian Juster (2019) attended the annual Tawang festival, trips which were opposed by China.
The pilots of the Allied forces nicknamed the air-route from airfields in Assam to those in Yunnan in China ‘The Hump’ because their aircraft had to navigate deep gorges and then quickly fly over mountains rising beyond 10,000 feet, a state government statement said.
From 1942 to 1945, military aircraft transported nearly 6,50,000 tonnes of supplies like fuel, food and ammunition to China during the “remarkable military operation” navigating ‘The Hump’.
In 2016-17, the US defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) deployed a team for 30 days in search of remains of unaccounted-for US airmen. There are approximately 400 US airmen missing in India, most of whose remains are believed to be located in the Himalayan mountains in the Northeast, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh.
Around 590 aircraft on this route in the course of 42-month operation, taking the “lives of 1,500 airmen and passengers”.
Most of these crashes took place in present-day Arunachal Pradesh. Since 2013, the US government has conducted several missions with the help of the Arunachal Pradesh government and the people of the state to locate remains of numerous aircraft and the victims of the Hump, an official said.
The extremely difficult Hump route covered areas in Arunachal, Assam, Tibet, Yunnan (China) and Myanmar. The US-led allied forces had to fly this route because the Japanese had blocked the 1150-km Burma road connecting Myanmar and China.