Gandhinagar-based National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) will join a team from the United States Department of Defense to recover and identify the remains of more than 400 of its missing members believed to have been in India since the Second World War.
According to NFSU officials, the US Department of Defense (DOD) signed a memorandum of understanding with the NFSU on May 27 via video conference.
As per the MoU, the Defense Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) under the DOD will travel to India to locate, recover and identify the missing US Army personnel from WWII in India.
Officials said the DPAA is currently trying to locate more than 81,800 U.S. military personnel who have disappeared in several wars over the past century, including more than 400 soldiers who disappeared in India during World War II.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Dr Gargi Jani, Project Manager, NFSU, said: “The DPAA deals with the tracing and accounting of missing US Army personnel from different wars such as the First World War, WWII, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam. The war among others. In this regard, the DOD has signed a memorandum of understanding with the NFSU to provide the most comprehensive account possible of the missing personnel to their families and to the American nation. Our role at the NFSU would be to help the DPAA with our scientific and logistical capacities.
Dr Jani added that this will be the first time that the NFSU has worked with an agency to locate personnel missing from a war that was fought almost 75 to 80 years ago.
“The work of the DPAA will take place mainly in the northeast of the country and teams from the NFSU, the Indian government and the United States government will be visiting in the coming days to help with the process,” said Dr Jani.
“The NFSU has always taken the initiative in promoting forensics in criminal investigations. This partnership with the DPAA will enable scientific exchanges in the fields of forensic anthropology and dentistry and will develop best practices for human identification, ”said Dr JM Vyas, Vice-Chancellor of the NFSU.