NEW DELHI: Breaking tradition, Prime Minister will pay homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial (NWM) here on the Republic Day instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti beneath the India Gate arch.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the National War Memorial on January 26 morning before the commencement of the Republic Day Parade, and lay a wreath at the memorial in the presence of the three services chiefs and the Chief of the Defence Staff,” Republic Day deputy parade commander Major General Alok Kakkar said on Thursday.
There will also be no wreath-laying at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate this year on the Republic Day, officials said.
While the India Gate bears the names of the soldiers who died in the First World War, the Amar Jawan commemorates the sacrifice of the soldiers in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
India’s first war memorial was dedicated to the nation by Modi on February 25, 2019.
The NWM was first proposed in 1960 and the NDA government approved its construction in 2015. It is spread over an area of approximately 40 acres and has names of 25,942 soldiers inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets.
It also includes a central 15.5-m obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy in a covered gallery (Veerta Chakra).
Over 80,000 Indians laid their lives in the First World War. India Gate bears the names of 13,516. Inverted bayonet and soldier’s helmet over an eternal flame burning beside it symbolise the Amar Jawan Jyoti, built to commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
“Both flames have their own importance,” said a senior Army official.
In memory of martyrs
NWM is dedicated to soldiers killed in the Indo-China War of 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Kargil in 1999, among others