Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the National War Memorial to the country on February 25, after addressing a meeting of more than 15,000 veterans at the National Stadium, two persons familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Promised in the National Democratic Alliance’s 2014 election manifesto, the country’s first war memorial near the India Gate complex will pay homage to over 26,000 soldiers who have sacrificed their lives since 1947.
Designed in four concentric circles, the memorial will be spread over 40 acres, with a 15-metre-high obelisk at its centre. The busts of 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees (India’s highest war-time gallantry award) will also be a part of the memorial.
The 42-metre-high India Gate, built by the British, commemorates the sacrifices of more than 83,000 Indian soldiers killed during World War I and the Afghan campaign. The Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is a tribute to the memory of 3,843 Indian soldiers killed during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Currently, all ceremonial functions are held at Amar Jawan Jyoti, but these will now move to the new war memorial, one of the persons added.
A February 5 letter from the defence ministry’s Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) to all Rajya Sainik Boards (RSB) has informed them about the dedication ceremony of the war memorial by the PM, and asked them to identify ex-servicemen who will attend the event.
The RSBs have to inform the KSB how many veterans will attend the meeting at the National Stadium by February 10.