PM opens National War Memorial, targets Congress

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the National War Memorial here by lighting the “eternal flame” at the monument and chose the occasion to accuse the previous Congress governments of playing with national interest, saying there was a concept of “family first” instead of “nation first.”

The monument consists of an obelisk centered inside four concentric circles, built to commemorate soldiers who were martyred in the line of duty since Independence.

Addressing a gathering of ex-servicemen during the inauguration of the war museum at the National Stadium here, Modi also slammed the Gandhi family, stating that the probe into all the major defence scams leading to one family said a lot.

“Those who called themselves the deciders of the country’s fate had done injustice to the forces and also played with the national security,” Modi said. “They had made the Army and the national security a means to earning for themselves. They wanted to forget the martyrs,” Modi said.

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Targeting the Gandhi family, the Prime Minister said, “From Bofors to helicopters (AgustaWestland VVIP chopper), all the probe leads to the doors of one family. And it says a lot.”

Hitting out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for criticising the 36 Rafale fighter jets deal with France, he said: “Now they are using all their tactics so that the modern jet does not come to India.”

“But in the next few months, when the first Rafale soars into the sky, all their conspiracies will end,” he said.

Attacking the Congress, Modi said, “Some people think their family interests come before the interest of the nation.”

“Today the National War Memorial (NWM) is being inaugurated. The National Police Memorial also had similar story. Two-and-a-half decades ago, the memorial file was introduced. It moved a bit during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, but after the government changed, the condition remained the same. People are asking why such injustice was done to the heroes and martyrs? What were the reasons that no one focused on the martyrs. India first or ‘family first,'” Modi asked.

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Modi said his government was bringing in modern weaponry to strengthen the armed forces. “Major defence decisions in the national interest, which were earlier ignored or halted, are now being taken without any delay.

The government has given its nod to purchase 72,000 assault rifles and 25,000 crore ammunition, Modi said.

After lighting the “eternal flame, the Prime Minister said: “This memorial is inscribed with the names of thousands of martyrs who will keep inspiring future generations for years to come to contribute in the service of the nation,” he said.

Before him, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also addressed the gathering and said that building of the monument was long time due.

Since Independence, more than 25,000 personnel have been martyred during the India-China War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistan wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and the conflict in Kargil in 1999.

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The National War Memorial also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made supreme sacrifices in United Nations peace-keeping missions, Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, counter insurgency operations and Low Intensity Conflict Operations (LICO).

The four concentric circles are named: “Amar Chakra” or Circle of Immortality, the “Veerta Chakra” or Circle of Bravery, the “Tyag Chakra” or Circle of Sacrifice and the “Rakshak Chakra” or Circle of Protection.

The outermost circle, the Rakshak Chakra, comprises rows of more than 600 trees, representing the soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation.

–IANS

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