To mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations and the victory of the allied countries in World War II in 2020, diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Kathmandu visited the oldest surviving Gurkha soldier Bal Bahadur Basnet at his home in Kathmandu last week.
Victory Day is widely celebrated in Russia every year on 9 May, and this year it will be a special anniversary. During World War II the people of Russia were in action on both the western and eastern fronts, and Nepali soldiers fought on the same side as Russia against the Axis forces.
Nepali veteran Bal Bahadur Basnet is now 98 years old, and was captured by the Japanese in Singapore, and was one of only four of 300 Nepali soldiers fighting in the British Army who survived a POW Camp in New Guinea. Basnet took part in battles in Burma, Malaya and Singapore before being captured, and lived through the horrors of being a prisoner-of-war.
During the meeting with Russian diplomats, Bal Bahadur Basnet shared memories about the war. “He was very pleased to get to know that in Russia all veterans of all battlefronts of the Second World War are deeply honored and treated as brothers in arms,” said Artem Blashchanitsa, Third Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Kathmandu, who was present at the meeting.
“In 2020, Russia intends to hold large-scale functions marking Victory Day in the Second World War, Nepal will join celebration of this momentous event,” said the Russian diplomat.
The victory of allied countries in World War II (1939-1945) laid the foundation for establishment of the United Nations, which was created with an aim to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and 2020 will also be celebrated as the 75th anniversary of the world body.
“It is worth reminding ourselves that during the Second World War peoples of Russia and Nepal fought for common cause and contributed to the victory. This page of history of the two countries should never be forgotten,” said another Russian diplomat Iuliia Androsova, First Secretary of the Russian Embassy, who also attended the meeting with Basnet.