Today on February 25, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National War Memorial beside the iconic India Gate. The monument may look even more significant when the country is still mourning the death of 40 CRPF jawans and a war buzz is thick in the air. Here are some facts about the memorial:
- Armed forces first proposed a national memorial for martyrs in 1960, but the proposal failed gain traction with administrators.
- In 1972, a memorial for martyrs of 1971 Indo-Pak war, Amar Jawan Jyoti, was built in underneath the India Gate arch. (India Gate was built by British in 1931 to pay tributes to 84,000 Indian soldiers who died between 1914-1921, defending the British Empire)
- In 2014, Narendra Modi floated his vision for a National War Memorial in the form of a state-of-the-art world class monument.
- In October 2015, the Government approved a plan to build the memorial with a budget of Rs 176 crore in memory of those soldiers who were martyred in wars after Independence in 1947.
- The memorial is built on a sprawling 40-acre plot adjoining India Gate.
- It comprises four concentric circles, which are named: mar Chakra, Veerta Chakra, Tyag Chakra, and Rakshak Chakra.
- Earlier, it was to be inaugurated on August 15, 2018, but the monument was not completed.
Some facts on war casualties:
- 1,104 in 1947-48 operation in Jammu and Kashmir
- 3,264 in 1965 Indo-Pak war
- 3,843 in 1971 Indo-Pak war
- 1,157 in IPKF operation in Sri Lanka
- 522 in 1999 Kargil war
- Also 930 soldiers have died in Operation Meghdoot, to protect the Siachin glacier since 1984 and another 4,800 in counter insurgency operation.