Chief Minister Pema Khandu, in a recent tweet, unveiled his visit to the ‘The Hump WW2 Museum’ in Pasighat, a site dedicated to preserving the history of World War II’s remarkable aerial supply route known as ‘The Hump.’ This museum is a testament to the significant role played by Arunachal Pradesh in this historic operation.
The ‘Hump’ was the name given to the challenging Himalayan route used during World War II, where American aircraft transported vital supplies over the treacherous Eastern Himalayas to support the Chinese Army. Chief Minister Khandu, during his visit, emphasised the significance of this route, stating that “The Hump’ route spanned across regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tibet, Yunnan (China), and Myanmar, with an estimated 650 aircraft having crashed in these areas due to the severe flying conditions.”
In his tweet, Khandu shared his deep appreciation for the ongoing work at the museum, which is nearing completion and will soon be inaugurated. The museum is a joint initiative of Chief Minister Khandu and the state government. It is reported that the state government is planning to invite the United States ambassador to India for the museum’s grand opening.
The ‘Hump’ operation was one of the most remarkable feats of aviation history during the Second World War. In 1942, when the Japanese Army blocked the 1,150 km Burma Road, cutting off vital supply lines, the US-led Allied forces had to undertake one of the biggest airlifts in aviation history. The challenging nature of ‘The Hump’ was further accentuated by the unpredictable weather, zero visibility, and sudden heavy winds that often plague the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh.
It is worth noting that even now, these mountains remain a formidable challenge for pilots and choppers. Despite the passage of decades, a significant number of aircraft from these missions disappeared in the remote jungles and mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, never to be recovered.
In 2017, investigators from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) returned to India to continue the search for the remains of US personnel missing since World War II. In 2016, the DPAA deployed a team to northeast India for 30 days to search for the remains of unaccounted-for US airmen. It was the fifth such mission to India since 2013, with an estimated 400 US airmen still missing in the Himalayan Mountains in northeast India.