Rishi Sunak Honours 101-Yr-Old Sikh World War II Veteran

London: The 101-year-old Rajindar Singh Dhatt, a World War II veteran, received a Points of Light honour from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Dhatt, one of the last surviving Sikh soldiers who fought in the World War, was honoured at a UK-India Week reception at 10 Downing Street, reported PTI.

Dhatt was recognised for his service and work in running the ‘Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association’ to help bring together British Indian war veterans.

The Points of Light acknowledges the contributions of outstanding people who make a difference in their communities.

Dhatt, based in Hounslow in south-west London since 1963, was born in 1921 in undivided India and fought with Allied forces during the British colonial period.

“It is an immense honour to receive this recognition from the Prime Minister, to whom I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for acknowledging the importance and impact of the ‘Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association’,” said Dhatt, adding that the “momentous occasion” will inspire him to continue making meaningful contributions to society, even as he nears his 102nd birthday.

“The journey of establishing this organisation was driven by a deep sense of duty as an ex-serviceman and the vision of fostering unity, support, and camaraderie. This award serves as a testament to the tireless efforts of countless individuals who have contributed to the success and growth of the association over the years,” said the emotional veteran soldier.

“Their unwavering commitment and selfless service has played a pivotal role in bringing about positive change in the lives of our ex-servicemen and their families,” he added.

Dhatt joined the British Indian Army during World War II and rose through the ranks, being promoted to Havildar Major (Sergeant Major) in 1943.

He was later called up for the Far East campaign in Kohima to support the Allied Forces and help them break through the Japanese defences. After the war, Dhatt returned to India before settling with his family in London.

Dhatt’s honour coincided with a Downing Street reception celebrating India Global Forum’s UK-India Week celebration of the bilateral relationship. Sunak spoke of Dhatt as an “incredible man” and thanked him for his service as a member of the Indian diaspora “living bridge.”

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