Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday unveiled the National War Memorial by lightening the eternal flame at the central obelisk in the war memorial complex, which is located at India Gate.
The memorial has been built in the memory of the martyred jawans who lost their lives protecting the nation during Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Srilanka and the Kargil Conflict in 1999.
The Prime Minister said the Indian army is one the bravest armies in the world and they have always accepted challenges and have responded efficiently. "His government is working tirelessly to make Indian Armed forces self-reliant," said Modi, while addressing armed forces veterans before the dedication of the memorial to the nation at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Modi also paid tributes to the martyrs of Pulwama terror attack.
He said one rank one pension for the ex-servicemen have been implemented by this government and so far 35 thousand crores have been distributed towards the scheme. The government is taking care of the needs of the servicemen, PM added.
Modi also announced setting up of three super speciality hospitals for the armed forces. He said changes have been made in the whole ecosystem of defence production by making it transparent.
Hitting out at the previous government for not fulfilling the demand of procuring one lakh 86 thousand bullet-proof jackets for Army, Modi said, from 2009 to 2014, not a single jacket was purchased.
He said, in this government in just four and half years, more than two lakh thiry thousand bullet-proof jackets were purchased. In a veiled attack at the Congress, Modi accused the party of halting the procurement of Rafale as senior party leaders of Congress were allegedly involved in corruption cases related to defence deals including VVIP chopper deal.
Speaking on the occasion, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the government has fulfilled its promise of constructing the memorial in the memory of braveheart soldiers. She said, the memorial will keep reminding the people the valour of country's soldiers. The Minister said the country has waited for this day for long.
PM Modi, during his Mann Ki Baat session on Sunday, said this war memorial was a "symbol of the nation's gratitude to those men who made the supreme sacrifice after we gained Independence". Based on the 'Chakravyuh' formation, this iconic National War Memorial comprises four thematic concentric circles along with a tall ceremonial obelisk at its centre. This structure bears the eternal flame positioned at the bottom of the stone-made obelisk.
Prime Minister @narendramodi will dedicate the National War Memorial to the nation in a solemn ceremonial function on February 25th. He will also address ex-servicemen on the occasion. pic.twitter.com/xwTsRsInv3- PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 24, 2019
Here are 10 most important things you need to know about the National War Memorial.
1. The National War Memorial has been built in the area of over 40 acre near the India Gate complex. Though the plan to construct such a memorial was going on since 1975, it was only on October 7, 2015, that the government approved its construction.
2. The entire project has been executed at a cost of Rs 176 crore and its design was selected through a global competition.
3. The central part of the sprawling complex, where the tall ceremonial obelisk is situated, has been built in a sunken plot. Its design had to respect the heritage look of the India Gate's Central Vista.
4. The names of 25,942 battle casualties have been inscribed across 16 walls that consist of granite pieces bearing the name, rank and regiment of the fallen heroes. It was built between February 2018 and February 2019, which is a "record time" to complete such a massive project.
5. The layout of the memorial located behind the India Gate canopy and across the National Stadium consists of four concentric circles, radially outwards, namely, the 'Amar Chakra' or Circle of Immortality, 'Veerta Chakra' or Circle of Bravery, 'Tyag Chakra' or Circle of Sacrifice and 'Rakshak Chakra' or Circle of Protection.
6. The central obelisk is topped with an Ashokan Capital and the base bears the famous couplet 'Shaheed ki mazron par...' by poet Jagdamba Prasad Mishra 'Hitaishi'. Six bronze murals, made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar, depicting famous battles fought by the Army, Air Force and Navy have been put up in a gallery in the Veerta Chakra zone.
7. Total 16 walls in concentric fashion have been constructed in the 'Tyag Chakra' area for paying homage to the over 25,000 battle casualties. The names of soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice have been inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern which symbolises the ancient Indian war formation 'Chakravyuh'.
8. The outermost circle -- the 'Rakshak Chakra' -- comprises rows of over 600 dense trees with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation round the clock.
9. Besides, the main complex, a Param Yoddha Sthal has also been built on the northern side of the India Gate's C-Hexagon area. The park is dotted with bronze busts of the 21 awardees, fifteen posthumously, of the Param Veer Chakra, country's highest wartime gallantry medal.
10. The memorial also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made supreme sacrifice in the UN Peace Keeping Missions; during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations; counter-insurgency operations; and low intensity capital operation.
Manoj Sharma with PTI inputsAlso read: Anil Ambani and promoter group earned Rs 517 crore in dividends since Ericsson case began