New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday inaugurate the National War Memorial near India Gate that has been built to commemorate the valour and sacrifice of the armed forces personnel who laid down their lives in the service of the nation post Independence.
Since Independence, more than 25,000 personnel have been martyred during the Indo-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.
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).
“It is a tribute to our fallen heroes and the bravest of the brave. It epitomises a rich saga of courage, valour and selfless sacrifice made by our heroes in the rich military tradition,” Lt. Gen. P.S. Rajeshwar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, said at a special media briefing.
The Prime Minister will inaugurate the memorial by lighting the eternal flame and laying wreaths. All the traditional wreath laying will be done at the National War Memorial now though the Amar Jawan Jyoti would still remain there, he said.
“I am sure the future generation will be inspired by the National War Memorial and it will help inculcate a sense of belonging and national pride,” Rajeshwar added.
Built at a cost of Rs 171 crore, the memorial has a 15.5 metre tall obelisk with an eternal flame and 16 circular walls of honour on which names of 25,942 martyrs have been carved in golden on granite tablets. The pattern of the walls symbolise the ancient Indian war formation “Chakravyuh”.
The design of the memorial has a layout comprising four concentric circles, namely the “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 memorial complex includes the central obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals depicting the famous battles fought by the Indian Army, the Air Force and the Navy in a covered gallery.
The outermost circle, the Rakshak Chakra, comprises rows of more than 600 trees, representing the soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation.
The busts of the 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees have been installed at the Param Yoddha Sthal and include those of three living awardees – Subedar Major Bana Singh (retd), Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav and Subedar Sanjay Kumar.
The proposal for creating a National War Memorial was under consideration since early 1970s. The Union cabinet cleared it in October 2015 while the sanction for the construction at India Gate was issued on December 18 the same year.