Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Arun Jaitley says decision on war memorial site soon

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley along with the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R K Dhowan and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha paying homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas in New Delhi on Saturday. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas in New Delhi on Saturday. (Source: PTI)
Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Posted: July 26, 2014 11:42 am | Updated: July 27, 2014 8:40 am

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley indicated here on Saturday that the government hasn’t yet taken a call on the site of the planned war memorial.

Speaking on the occasion of the 15th Kargil Vijay Diwas, after laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, he said, “We have discussed various sites. As far as the government is concerned, subject to whatever is approved by the departments of the government and the Armed Forces concerned, we will look for the best site in this vicinity, whatever is available. The Armed Forces had suggested a land in the vicinity available at Princess Park. It is appropriate for a war museum.”

Jaitley was accompanied by the three service chiefs at the wreath-laying ceremony.

During his Budget speech, Jaitley, who also holds the Finance portfolio, had said that the war memorial as well as war museum would be constructed at Princess Park. This was contrary to the longstanding talks about constructing the memorial in the India Gate complex.

The original plan included construction of a war memorial at India Gate and a museum at Princess Park, and connecting the two by an underground subway. However, the former Delhi government led by Sheila Dikshit had warned that constructing a memorial at India Gate would spoil the facade of the famous complex.

On Saturday, Jaitley said: “The site for the war memorial, which will have names inscribed of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country after 1947, either at that (Princess Park) site or somewhere in the vicinity… is being shortlisted. In fact, very soon — in a day or two — we will be visiting that site along with the chiefs… The construction will take time. We want it to be a grand memorial.”

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