Indian National Army

The Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj was an armed force formed by
Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II.
The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese
assistance. Initially composed of Indian prisoners of war captured by Japan in her
Malayan campaign and at Singapore, it later drew large numbers of volunteers from
Indian expatriate population in Malaya and Burma.
Initially formed in 1942 immediately after the fall of Singapore under Mohan Singh, the
first INA collapsed in December that year before it was revived under the leadership of
Subhas Chandra Bose in 1943 and proclaimed the army of Bose’s Arzi Hukumat-e- Azad
Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India). This second INA fought along with
the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the
campaigns in Burma, Imphal and Kohima, and later, against the successful Burma
Campaign of the Allies. The end of the war saw a large number of the troops repatriated
to India where some faced trial for treason and became a galvanising point of the Indian
Independence movement.
After Indian independence, the ex-INA members, with some exceptions, were refused
service in the Indian Army. However, a number of notable members later became
involved in public life in India and in Southeast Asia.
The legacy of the INA is controversial given its associations with Imperial Japan, the
course of Japanese occupations in Burma, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia,
her alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, as well as Japanese war crimes and the
alleged complicity of the troops of the INA in these. Also, its relative insignificance in
military terms, its obvious propaganda value to the Japanese, as well as wartime British
Intelligence propaganda of cowardice and stories that associated INA soldiers in
mistreatment of captured Allied troops, to some extent mires the history of the army.
However, after the war, the Red Fort trials of captured INA officers in India provoked
massive public outcries in support of their efforts to fight the Raj, eventually triggering
the Bombay mutiny in the British Indian forces. These events in the twilight of the Raj
are accepted to have played a crucial role in its hasty end.

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