Decades after the project was conceptualised in 1961, the country’s first National War Memorial dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi near India Gate on Monday.
In a hard-hitting speech before the inauguration, PM Modi said delay by previous governments in the construction of the National War Memorial was an injustice to families of fallen soldiers. “UPA government failed soldiers. From Bofors to VVIP chopper deal, all the scams are pointing to one family. The long delay in building this war memorial is due to putting a family first and not India,” PM Modi said.
Names of the 25,942 soldiers who died in multiple conflicts after Independence have been engraved in gold on granite tablets, and placed on 16 ‘honour walls’ in two concentric circles named ‘Tyag Chakra’.
PM Modi inaugurates National War Memorial at India Gate. Here are the highlights
Modi lights eternal flame at National War Memorial
PM Narendra Modi lights the eternal flame at National War Memorial, which is located a little to the east of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
Over 250 people will be able to visit National War Memorial at a time
The National War Memorial is being moulded as a “national centre for civilian engagement and reverence for the forces”. Over 250 people will be able to visit it at a time. The project was approved by the Cabinet in 2015, and its total cost has been pegged at Rs 176 crore.
National War Memorial: PM Modi concludes speech
Concluding his speech, PM Modi says from school to hospital, the name of one family was connected everywhere from the highway to the airport. The PM will now inaugurate the Nationa War Memorial. The project was conceptualised in 1961.
PM Modi speaks at the National War Memorial inauguration event
PM says Modi is not important but the nation is above all. "About two and a half decades ago, the file of this memorial started moving. For a brief period during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime, the process was expedited but after him, situation was back to square one," PM Modi says.
PM Modi attacks Congress, asks 'India first or family first'
Continuing his attack on the Congress, PM Modi says from Bofors to VVIP chopper deal, all the investigations are pointing to one family. "India first or family first? In the year 2009, the Army had demanded 1,86,000 bulletproof jackets. Five years passed from 2009 to 2014, but the bulletproof jackets were not bought for the Army," says PM Modi.
PM Modi speaks at the National War Memorial inauguration event
PM Modi says contribution from all parts of society is necessary in security of the nation. "Because of this ideology, for the first time women are getting the opportunity to become fighter pilots. Decisions are being taken to strengthen the participation of daughters in the force," he says.
UPA govt failed soldiers, says PM Modi
Hitting out at the Congress, PM Modi says the UPA govt failed soldiers. "Big taint on UPA government. They are desperately trying to scuttle the Rafale deal now. Bofors to Augusta scam, all bribes reached one family," he says.
Govt working towards making the Army self-reliant: PM Modi
The National War Memorial was promised in the National Democratic Alliance’s 2014 election manifesto. "The demand for a National War Memorial has been there for many decades. 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," he says. PM says the NDA government was continuously working towards making the Army self-reliant. "The decisions which were thought to be impossible earlier have now been made possible," he says.
PM Modi pays tributes to deceased Pulwama soldiers
PM Modi says the defence procurement procedure has been eased and streamlined. He says the government was also working on building three super specialty hospitals for ex-servicemen. "At this historical place, I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives in Pulwama and all those bravehearts who sacrifice themselves for protection of India," Modi says.
PM Modi says Rs 35,000 crore has been distributed through OROP
Speaking of the contribution of the government towards ex-servicemen, PM Modi says Rs 35,000 crore has been distributed through One Rank, One Pension. "Salaries of soldiers have been increased by 55 per cent. Pension Budget now over Rs 1 lakh crore. Rashtriya Samar Smaarak will be dedicated to the nation, thousands of martyrs names are etched and will continue to inspire future generations," he says.
Soldiers have always been at forefront to protect nation: PM Modi
PM Modi says the decades-long wait for the National War Memorial is now over. "Whether the problems have come due to enemies or nature, the soldiers have always been at the forefront to protect the country. New India is now moving forward with new virtues, and it is because of your dedication. When Lata di had sung Mere Watan Ke Logon here, it made all of us emotional," PM Modi says. Mentioning the recent Pulwama attack, Modi says, "Would like to pay respect to every soldier who got martyred in the incident."
PM Modi praises the contribution of Indian Army
Praising the Indian Army, PM Modi says due to the sacrifice of many soldiers, we are the largest Army in the world. While concluding her speech, Sitharaman said, "With this memorial, we have created one more pilgrimage place for Indians, we hope every Indian visits and pays homage to our brave soldiers."
PM Modi begins his speech
Today, we are dedicating, for our nation, a National War Memorial of our own. We have waited for several decades for this great day, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PM Modi now arrives on the dais to give his speech.
All about the National War Memorial
The ‘Param Yodha Sthal’, where the 21 winners of the Param Vir Chakra have been honoured with individual bronze busts, with details of their bravery engraved below, is also a part of the memorial. All about the National War Memorial
The war memorial will keep reminding us of soldiers' valour: Sitharaman
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is now speaking in the dedication ceremony. "When you go home, tell them of us...and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today...The last words of our heroes always reverberate in our hearts...This war memorial will keep reminding us in years to come of the valour of the soldiers and their dedicated service," she says.
PM Modi to inaugurate National War Memorial soon
A little to the east of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, PM Modi will light another flame in honour of martyred soldiers at the country’s first National War Memorial.
In a short while from now, Rashtriya Samar Smaarak, the #NationalWarMemorial will be dedicated to the nation.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 25, 2019
Here are some glimpses of the Memorial, located near India Gate in Central Delhi. pic.twitter.com/ktA9hhudOL