New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday inaugurate the National War Memorial near India Gate. The memorial will honour soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country since Independence.
PM Modi will dedicate the memorial to the nation built in memory of soldiers killed in action since Independence, at the India Gate complex, by lighting a flame positioned at the bottom of the stone-made obelisk.
“The prime minister will dedicate the memorial to the nation on February 25. The defence minister, chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force will be among the dignitaries present on the occasion,” a senior official said.
Some other cabinet ministers are also likely to attend the event, he said.
“The National War Memorial will include a wall that will carry the names of those soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country,” Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had earlier said.
“The memorial would be iconic and serve as a new landmark, which would attract people from near and far,” he had said.
The War Memorial found a mention in PM Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ on Sunday where he said that the lack of a National War Memorial was a matter of pain to him.
“The never ending wait after nation’s Independence for a War Memorial is about to be over. India not having a National War Memorial used to surprise me and really pain me. This new memorial has been built near India Gate and Amar Jawan Jyoti,” the Prime Minister said.
The inauguration of the memorial comes close to the heels of the Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. The dastardly attack, the worst-ever on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
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, the officials said, adding that it was built between February last year and this February in “record time”.
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.
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, he added.
Likewise, 16 walls in concentric fashion have been constructed in the ‘Tyag Chakra’ area for paying homage to the over 25,000 battle casualties.
Acceding to a long-pending demand of the armed forces, the government in 2015 had approved the project for building a National War Memorial and a National War Museum near India Gate in memory of over 22,500 soldiers who laid down their lives post-Independence.
Later in the day, the prime minister is also expected to lay the foundation stone for the Jewar Airport in Gautam Buddha Nagar. The proposed airport, second in the National Capital Region (NCR) after Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, would cost around Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore and is expected to be operational by 2022-23.
Also, PM Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce & Industry Business Meet in Bengaluru on Monday.
The three-day conference, which is being organised by the FKCCI in collaboration with the State Government will see participation of business leaders, industrialists, exporters and importers of 30 countries.
FKCCI president Sudhakar S Shetty said at a curtain raiser that they are expecting the participation of about 2,000 delegates, 125 speakers, 1,500 organisations and over 120 exhibitors.
Apart from PM Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Nirmala Sitaraman, Sadananda Gowda and Anantkumar Hegde, besides Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and Large Industries Minister KJ George are expected to attend the event.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu will address the valedictory session.