Channel NewsAsia (CNA) yesterday interviewed 87-year-old Ishwar Lall Singh, a Word War 2 (WWII) survivor. Mr Singh said that before the war started the British were not looking after Singaporeans, and that the “Japanese were able to force themselves into Singapore because we were not willing fighters.”
“We did not have Singaporeans who were fighting to defend their own country,” he added, but said that he was not one of them. He joined the Indian National Army in 1943.
The thing is, if Mr Singh had joined the Indian National Army in 1943, he would have collaborated with the Japanese during WWII.
“The Indian National Army was the brainchild of Major Fujiwara who was assigned by the Japanese the task of intelligence gathering in British occupied areas. The major objective of the INA was to demonstrate to the world that the Indians were tired of the British rule and had as a last resort formed their own army to fight against the British Raj.
The other objective was to build the image of Japan as a country that loved freedom and helped other nations for their liberation. The INA was a collection of different major ethnic groups, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.
There were three major reasons for joining the INA. Some joined the INA for the love for their country. Their motivational force was nationalism. Another group of people were prisoners of war who preferred to join the INA instead of leading a miserable life in prison camps. Yet another group joined the INA under coercion by the Japanese who threatened Indian prisoners of dire consequences if they did not join. Despite the diversity of the groups, the INA emerged as a symbol of Indian nationalism – which was the essential objective of setting it up.” – The International News
The INA made a substantial contribution to the Japanese armies attempt to destroy the Allied forces and invade India. (Battle of Imphal)
Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.