Business secretary Sajid Javid with guests at an event to honour the contribution of soldiers from the Indian sub-continent in the First World War
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake has called on parliament to mark the Sikh community’s contribution to World War I with a memorial in central London.
The foreign affairs spokesman tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) which allows MPs to draw attention to a cause, calling for the construction of the first-of-its-kind monument, secured all party support.
“It is vital we recognise the sacrifices and bravery of Sikh soldiers who fought for Britain during the First World War,” Brake said.
“A permanent monument in central London is long overdue and would highlight as well as create an important symbol of the sacrifices the Sikh community made in the Great War,” he added.
Over 130,000 Sikh troops fought in Belgium and France during World War I for the Indian army and over a quarter of those soldiers died.
Although Sikhs made up only two per cent of the population of India, they formed 20 per cent of the Indian Army and had active service from the Somme to Gallipoli.
More than one million Indian troops are believed to have served overseas during the war, with over 60,000 casualties.
The Memorial Gates in London’s Hyde Park was inaugurated in 2002 by the Queen as a permanent memorial to commemorate all Commonwealth soldiers, including Indians, who served during the First and Second World Wars.