On February 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National War Memorial which is situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi. He paid homage to the soldiers who laid their lives on the line of duty. “Our armed forces are among the strongest in the world. They have always risen to every challenge in front of the nation and responded with their full strength,” PM Modi said. While paying homage to the martyred soldiers, PM Modi lit the flame at the bottom of the stone obelisk.
The National War Memorial
The National War Memorial complex is spread across 40 acres. The complex includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals showing major wars fought by the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, as reported by NDTV.
Statues of 21 Param Veer Chakra awardees have been erected in the Memorial, including those of Subedar Major (Hony Capt) Bana Singh (Retired), Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav and Subedar Sanjay Kumar. These three are the recipients of India’s highest gallantary award. Across the 16 walls of the memorial, names of 25,942 martyred soldiers have been inscribed. Apart from the soldiers martyred during the 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars, those who laid their lives during the Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka, their names are also mentioned.
The memorial also has a layout having four concentric circles. These four circles are Amar Chakra (Circle of Immortality), Veerta Chakra (Circle of Bravery), Tyag Chakra (Circle of Sacrifice) and Rakshak Chakra (Circle of Protection).
About the memorial, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that it would remind us and the future generations about the “valour of the soldiers and their dedicated service”. PM Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat programme, said that for the countrymen, visiting the memorial would be like a pilgrimage to a holy place. He also added that he has always been pained and surprised by the fact that such a memorial did not exist earlier.
Memorial was first proposed in 1960s
As reported by The Indian Express, the memorial has been built on a cost of Rs 176 crore. Interestingly, the proposal for such a memorial was first made in the 1960s. In successive years, demands for it was repeated several times. In 2012, the then Defence Minister AK Antony said that the memorial would be built at the India Gate. However, at that time then Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and activists opposed the proposed choice of site for this memorial. Along with this, an attempt to introduce Cabinet note was thwarted.
In October 2015, the Cabinet gave in-principle approval for a 500 crore project. In December, the construction at C Hexagon was sanctioned. In 2016 an international competition was organised to decide upon the design of the memorial and in March 2017, the design by Yogesh Chandrahasan of WeBe Design Ltd was picked up. The jury entrusted with deciding the winner was led by architect and planner Christopher Benninger. Finally, in February 2018, NCC Ltd, Hyderabad began the construction.
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