United Nations:  The UN has commemorated the centenary of World War I, lauding the courage and sacrifice of soldiers including over a million from India, and underscored the importance of reconciliation through diplomacy.

The event ‘Learning from War to Build Peace’ was organised here yesterday, jointly by the Permanent Missions of France and Germany and co-sponsored by 25 nations including India.

Bringing together UN Member States, it highlighted the importance of reconciliation through diplomacy and dialogue.

“Today we remember the millions who were killed or wounded in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. The First World War was described at the time as the war to end all wars. It did nothing of the sort,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

“But global revulsion at the bloodshed did mark the beginning of new efforts to better manage the world’s rivalries and affairs,” Ban said.

The Secretary General said 100 years after the war, nations continue their efforts to help people realise the universal aspiration for peace, development and human rights.

“That work demands tremendous patience and political will. But it also faces immense challenges, as we see with today’s horrific violence on many fronts.

“Too many continue to fuel conflict, almost heedless of the human consequences. Too many continue to embrace the military option, despite the lessons of history,” Ban added.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji said apart from Indian soldiers and medical personnel, a large number of Indian technical support troops played a key role during the war.

“We look at the first world war as one of those defining events in our own evolution as an independent country. The war brought together the Indian Army as we know it today.

“The sadness of the war is evident because after the British army, the Indian army took the most casualties,” Mukerji told PTI

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