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NEW DELHI: A 97-year-old Indian veteran whose leg was blown off in Italy in World War II has won a battle for a bigger pension that was previously denied to soldiers injured before independence in 1947.

Sepoy Balwant Singh was one of more than 2.5 million soldiers from British India who took part in the six-year war, fighting for the Allied forces across Europe, Africa and Asia.

Nearly 90,000 were killed - among them Singh's older brother Jaswant who died in Italy - and around 35,000 others were injured.

Singh, from the northern state of Rajasthan, was drafted into the British Indian Army's Punjab Regiment in 1943 and nearly killed by a landmine in Italy the following year.

After two months in a military hospital he was sent back to India. He was discharged from military service in 1946 on a general disability pension of 20 rupees that gradually increased to 7,000 rupees ($94) over the subsequent seven decades.

The Indian government in 1972 decided to grant an additional war injury pension to soldiers hurt or disabled during battles since 1947 when India gained independence, but not before.

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