Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi, to the nation. He lit the flame positioned at the bottom of the stone obelisk to pay homage to the soldiers who died in the line of duty.
“Our armed forces are among the strongest in the world. They have always risen to every challenge in front of the nation and responded with their full strength,” PM Modi said, honouring the soldiers who have given up their lives to defend the country and also launching a piercing political attack on the Congress at the event.
Speaking at the inauguration with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by his side, PM Modi said, “For seven decades since Independence, the country didn’t have a memorial for our fallen heroes. In the last decade there were one or two attempts but nothing concrete could happen, with the help of your blessing we started the process in 2014.”
Helicopters rained rose petals on the National War Memorial and a fly-past in the ‘Missing Man’ formation was also seen at the event on Monday as PM Modi inaugurated the memorial at the India Gate complex.
The Rs 176 crore project stands tall at the India Gate complex along with the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which in itself is a memorial for those martyred in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The National War Memorial fire will continue to burn in the memory of the martyrs just like the Amar Jawan Jyoti that was built in 1972.
The National War Memorial bears the name, rank and regiment of the 25,942 fallen soldiers. The names have been inscribed on the 16 walls of the memorial complex.
The memorial is a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1962 Indo-China War, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999.
Inspired by the ‘chakravyuh’ military formation mentioned in the Mahabharata, the National War Memorial has four concentric circles the tall obelisk standing at the centre that bears the eternal flame in the memory of the fallen soldiers of the country.
The four concentric circles have been named ‘Amar Chakra’ or the Circle of Immortality, ‘Veerta Chakra’ or Circle of Bravery, ‘Tyag Chakra’ or Circle of Sacrifice and ‘Rakshak Chakra’ or the Circle of Protection.
The memorial also has six bronze murals, made by ace sculptor Ram Sutar. These sculptures depict the famous battles fought by the Army, Air Force and Navy and have been put up in a gallery in the Veerta Chakra zone.
A day before the National War Memorial inauguration, PM Modi expressed pain and surprise that such a monument never existed in the country before this.