During the Second World War (1939–1945), India was controlled by the United Kingdom. While the regular Indian army in 1939 included about 220,000 native troops, it expanded tenfold during the war and small naval and air force units were created. Over two million Indians volunteered for military service in the British Army. They played a major role in numerous campaigns, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. India also provided the base for American operations in support of China in the China Burma India Theater.
The Indian Army during World War II was one of the largest Allied forces contingents which took part in the North and East African Campaign, Western Desert Campaign. At the height of the World War, more than 2.5 million Indian troops were fighting Axis forces around the globe.
Over 87,000 Indian soldiers (including those from modern day Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh) died in World War II. Casualties were moderate (in terms of the world war), with 24,000 killed; 64,000 wounded; 12,000 missing (probably dead), and 60,000 captured at Singapore in 1942.[17