India to Let US Search Himalayas for WWII Remains

Sensitivities with China may have blocked past recovery efforts
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2012 8:41 AM CDT
A picture taken on February 6, 2012 shows an aerial view of the Mount Everest range, some 87 miles north-east of Kathmandu.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The remains of hundreds of American servicemen and the wreckage of their planes have been scattered across the most remote reaches of the Himalayas since World War II. Yesterday, however, India agreed to let teams from the US Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command search for and recover those remains. The Washington Post notes that one 2007 recovery mission in a disputed India-China border region was shut down due to what analysts say was India's fears of poking at China. India's apparent change of heart follows 2010 legislation that boosted annual remains-recovery quotas set for JPAC.

Allied forces had to fly over the dangerous Himalayas and into China to bypass Japanese-controlled Burma, a route called "flying over the Hump." Arizona-based businessman Clayton Kuhles, who has for years searched the region for the remains of US servicemen and posted the results on his website, is skeptical about how much progress the JPAC recovery team will make. “It took JPAC eight years to identify and repatriate the remains I brought out from a C-87 crash site in 2003," wrote Kuhles in an email. "Time is of the essence in this project because many of the family members are quite elderly and are passing on." This announcement follows similar news out of Vietnam. (Read more India stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |