National War Memorial to be inaugurated on Monday

National War Memorial to be inaugurated on Monday

A wall with the names of the martyred soldiers displayed at the National War Memorial in New Delhi, Sunday, Feb 24, 2019. The memorial will be inaugurated by PM Modi tomorrow. PTI.

Nearly 72 years after independence, India is set to have its first National War Memorial with the names of 25,942 soldiers, who sacrificed their lives while fighting for the country.

Spread over an area of 40 acres near the India Gate, the monument consists of four concentric circles symbolising the ancient war formation of Chakravyuh, a 15-metre tall central obelisk and an eternal flame that will be lit by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

“From now on the memorial will be the place for the wreath laying on the Republic Day and Independence Day as well for the foreign dignitaries to pay respect,” Lt Gen P S Rajeshwar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee said here.

The tri-service guard at the Amar Jawan Jyoti – an inverted bayonet with a helmet structure that was set up in the memory of Indian soldiers who died in the 1971 war in Bangladesh - will be shifted to the new memorial.

The flame at India Gate, however, will be kept alive with guards securing it.

The India Gate was constructed in 1931 to commemorate the memories of Indian soldiers killed in World War-I and the third Anglo-Afghan War. Of over 83,000 Indians who lost their lives in those two campaigns, names of 13,516 soldiers were inscribed on the iconic structure.

The Nation War Memorial, on the other hand, will have names of soldiers who died in India's wars against Pakistan (1947-48 and 1965), China (1962), Kargil episode (1999), Op Parakram (2002-04), UN Peacekeeping Missions and counterinsurgency and internal security operations.

There is also a special enclosure for 21 Param Vir Chakra recipients, 15 of which received the battle honour posthumously. There are also murals depicting the high points of the wars that India fought in the last seven decades.

For the Indian Army, the list of names was frozen in December 2017 while the Indian Air Force and Navy finalised their names in January 2018. “However, there were provisions to add more names in the future, which would be done through a periodic review,” Rajeshwar said.

While the armed forces were demanding such a memorial for a long time, the Union Cabinet approved the Rs 176 crore project in October 2015. In a global competition involving 428 entries, a Chennai-based person was chosen for his design.

In February 2018, the land was handed over to the Indian Army's project team, which completed the work in one year.

A war museum too would come up at the Princes Park near the war memorial.

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