Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Sunday inaugurated the World War II Memorial Museum at Nampong in the state’s Changlang district bordering Myanmar.
Built by the Union culture ministry, the Rs 2.25-crore museum in memory of those who laid down their lives in World War II is located adjacent to the historic Stilwell Road and is expected to boost international and domestic tourist inflow, especially from Southeast Asian countries.
Khandu visited the war memorial where remnants of the war, personal belongings of the soldiers and other persons involved were preserved after being collected from the locals. It also showcases traditional items from indigenous Tangsa community.
In his interaction with local leaders and officials, he said the memorial has great potential to attract tourists if developed properly, and promised the state government’s support for its preservation and promotion.
The chief minister was informed that about 833 graves, including mass graves, have been discovered. These also include of the people who were involved in construction of Stilwell Road.
Assam Rifles personnel first spotted the cemetery in 1997, according to museum officials at Nampong.
The 1,726-km Stilwell Road was a vital lifeline for the Allied Forces during World War II. Starting from Assam, it cuts through the Pangsau pass in Myanmar to reach Kunming in south China. Built by Chinese labourers, Indian soldiers and American engineers, it was named after American General Joseph Stilwell who led the task and completed it in 1945 after three years of hard work.
The Stilwell Road on the Indian side is about 60 km. The major stretch of 1,033 km lies within Myanmar, while the road in China is 632 km long. Hundreds of soldiers died while building the road – many of whom are buried along Lekhapani, about 600 km east of Assam’s main city Guwahati.