External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar engaged with Indian community leaders during his visit to Sailani Avenue, a notable street in Perth, Australia, named after the heroic soldier Nain Singh Sailani, originally from Shimla.
Sailani, among the 12 Indian Anzacs who served with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) during World War I, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916. Tragically, he lost his life in Belgium during active duty in June 1917.
Expressing his sentiments, Jaishankar, who is in Australia for the 7th Indian Ocean Conference, highlighted the significance of Sailani Avenue, paying homage to the Indian-origin soldier's valor. He also had the opportunity to interact with veterans and Indian community leaders during his visit.
Earlier, Jaishankar and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong deliberated on various aspects of India-Australia relations, the Indian Ocean architecture, and the mutual interests shared by both nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Sailani Avenue, formerly known as Nelson Avenue, was renamed in 2023 as a tribute to this Sikh war hero, following a personal request from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The renaming ceremony was a symbolic acknowledgment of the contributions made by Anzac soldiers of Indian descent in shaping the history of Western Australia.
Nain Singh Sailani, born in Shimla in 1873, immigrated to Australia in 1895 and settled in Geraldton. At the outbreak of World War I, despite being 43 years old, he volunteered for service and was assigned to the 44th Battalion.
Sailani, along with soldier Sarn Singh, was one of the two Indian-Australian soldiers killed in action on June 1, 1917, in France. He was laid to rest in the Strand Military Cemetery in Belgium, and a plaque commemorating his sacrifice was installed in Kings Park, Perth, in 2017.
For his courageous service, Sailani was posthumously awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal, and the 1914/15 Star, honoring his dedication and sacrifice for his adopted country.
(With Agency Inputs)