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National War Memorial to come up at India Gate

Clearing the path for the setting up of a National War Memorial in the capital,a Group of Ministers (GoM) has accepted the Armed Force’s recommendation for a new memorial at the India Gate complex.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi |
August 22, 2012 2:33:32 am

Clearing the path for the setting up of a National War Memorial in the capital,a Group of Ministers (GoM) has accepted the Armed Force’s recommendation for a new memorial at the India Gate complex that will honour post-Independence martyrs.

A national war museum will also come up in the Princess Park area near the India Gate and will be connected to the proposed war memorial complex by an underground walkway.

The memorial will be a circular structure around the canopy that is located at the India Gate complex. It will consist of marble slabs — mostly located below ground-level — on which the names of post-Independence martyrs of the Armed Forces will be inscribed.

Currently,India does not have a national war memorial. The iconic India Gate contains only the names of over 90,000 martyrs of the First World War and those of earlier British campaigns around the world. However,all ceremonies to honour martyrs take place at India Gate.

The proposed war memorial has been designed by renowned architect Charles Correa. Construction would commence once the project gets approval from the Union Cabinet.

The structure that has been recommended by the Armed Forces will involve raising the height of the current lawn around the canopy by a few feet. The design would not alter the view of the India Gate complex from Rajpath or Raisina Hill.

The national war museum will come up in the Princess Park area and will house India’s prized collections from all wars post-Independence.

The war memorial complex will be connected to the museum via an underground system to ensure that traffic around the C-hexagon is not disrupted. The memorial and the museum will be dedicated to soldiers who laid down their lives during the six major post-Independence conflicts — the 1947-48 Jammu and Kashmir operations,the 1962 Indo-China War,the 1965 War with Pakistan,Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka,the 1999 Kargil Conflict and other internal operations.

The new memorial complex had been put on hold for several decades despite strong pressure from the Armed Forces. The proposal got fresh momentum after the 1999 Kargil Conflict and was touted as one of the major projects of the UPA government. However,the project got bogged down after objections were raised by various bodies,including the Delhi Urban Arts Commission.

The main contention of the bodies was that the India Gate complex should not be tampered with. However,the Armed Forces contended that the design would not alter the area much.

With the matter reaching an impasse,a GoM was set up in 2009 to resolve the matter. This included a representation from the Urban Development Ministry. The final meeting of the GoM took place on Tuesday after which it was decided that the complex would be established in India Gate.

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