VP Naidu meets French, US Presidents

Paris: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu met United States President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at a banquet hosted by the latter in honour of Heads of States who are attending a ceremony in Paris to commemorate the Armistice of First World War.

Earlier in the day, Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel marked the centenary of the end of the First World War at an event at Compiegne, in the woods north of Paris, CBC reported.

The leaders of the two nations unveiled a commemorative plaque at the site of the railway carriage where military leaders signed a ceasefire on November 11, 1918.

Meanwhile, Vice President Naidu inaugurated the Indian War Memorial at Villers Guislain in France on Saturday.

Speaking during the inaugural function, the Vice President spoke about the importance of the memorial, terming it as a tribute to the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting selflessly during the World War I.

He had also opined that the World War I “not only changed the social and political fabric of Europe, but perhaps changed the destinies of a number of countries across the world.”

Nearly 1.3 million Indian soldiers fought during World War I, out of which 1,40,000 Indian soldiers took part in World War I in France and Belgium.

Even though a memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers who died during World War I was made by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) at Neuve Chapelle in 1927, a need to build a unique Memorial by Independent India was felt. In Europe, the only other such memorial stands at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

The main motif of the Indian War Memorial at Villers Guislain is the Indian national emblem which consists of Ashoka lions along with a bronze wreath, plaque, and lances which have been designed in India.