To mark two years of surgical strikes on Pakistani terror launch pads across the Line of Control, the government will host a three-day exhibition depicting the valour and bravery of the soldiers of the armed forces. The exhibition, which will be held at India Gate from September 28 to 30, is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on one of the days.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) too has directed universities and higher education institutions across the country to observe September 29 as Surgical Strike Day. It has suggested, among other activities, talk-sessions by ex-servicemen, special parades, visit to exhibitions and mailing greeting cards to pledge support to the armed forces.
The India Gate event is being organised jointly by the ministries of Defence and Information and Broadcasting — a name for the event is still to be decided. No event was held last year to commemorate the first anniversary of the surgical strikes, but it actively featured in the poll campaigns of BJP in state assembly elections. Posters were put up during the UP elections and the surgical strikes were mentioned by Modi during his campaign speeches in Gujarat.
Sources said the exhibition will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and will be open to public. It will feature songs by popular artistes like Kailash Kher and Mohit Chauhan, and will have selfie walls and video shows for the public.
There will be limited videos or photos of the cross-LoC operation which has officially been kept under wraps by the government. Sources said photos, videos and documentaries which are already in public domain will be shown, after being vetted by the Army.
The cross-LoC action was carried out by Special Forces against terror launch pads on September 29, 2016 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The exhibition will also feature weapons and equipment captured by the Army in various operations over the years. A stall of Navy and
Indian Air Force is also expected to be part of the exhibition. To attract the younger generation, the exhibition will actively highlight messages and letters written by children from across the country to armed forces personnel.
Meanwhile, the UGC, in a communication to all Vice Chancellors, has suggested that universities should invite ex-servicemen to talk to students about “the sacrifices made by the armed forces in protecting the borders”.
The UGC has also suggested that students write letters and cards pledging their support to the armed forces and these will be shared by the government’s publicity division on social media.
“The physical letters so received can be given to the nearest cantonment or can be presented to the Army officials visiting various colleges for short meetings with the students. It will also provide photo-ops for the students,” the letter states.
The National Cadet Corps in all higher education institutions are expected to organise a parade on September 29, following which the cadets will be addressed on “modalities of protection of the borders”.
Although the letter does not say these activities are mandatory, it states that “the activities undertaken may be uploaded on the University Activity Monitoring Portal on UGC website”.