Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid rich tributes this morning to the 1971 war heroes to mark the 50th anniversary Of India's win over Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh. PM Modi lit a "Swarnim Vijay Mashaal" - a victory torch - at the eternal flame of of the National War Memorial in Delhi.
Vijay Diwas marks India's decisive victory over Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the liberation of East Pakistan and the creation of the new state of Bangladesh. On this day in 1971, the Chief of the Pakistani Forces General Niazi - along with 93,000 of his soldiers - surrendered to Indian forces.
PM Modi - at the iconic Amar Jawan Jyoti - remembered the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Amar Jawan Jyoti - symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier's helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it - was built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers who died in the line of duty in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the Tri-Service Chiefs were also present at the event as Rajnath Singh unveiled the logo for ''Swarnim Vijay Varsh'".
Four torches were lit this morning that will be carried to the cities and villages of the 1971 war heroes who had received the gallantry awards -- Param Vir Chakra and MahaVir Chakra. "Soil from the villages of these Awardees and from areas where major battles were fought in 1971 are being brought to the NWM," a government statement said yesterday.
Across India, various events are planned to honour the war veterans.
सहनशीलता, क्षमा, दया को तभी पूजता जग है।— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) December 16, 2020
बल का दर्प चमकता उसके पीछे जब जगमग है।।#AlwaysVictorious#IndianArmy
We salute the indomitable #courage of #IndianArmy which led to mass military surrender of 93000 #PakArmy soldiers.#VijayDiwas2020#PakSurrenderDaypic.twitter.com/PhVP1QsPTS
This morning, leaders across the country also paid tributes on social media. "Today, on the occasion of Vijay Diwas, I salute the valour and bravery of the Indian Army. I remember the bravery of the brave soldiers who wrote a new saga of bravery in the 1971 war. Their sacrifice is a source of inspiration for all Indians. Nation will always revere them," Rajnanth Singh tweeted.
Home Minister Amit Shah wrote on Twitter: "On this day in 1971, the Indian Army, with its indomitable courage and valour, made a historic change on the world map, protecting the universal values of human freedom. This mark with golden letters in history will continue to make every Indian proud. Happy Vijay Diwas."
"Today is #VijayDiwas , India marks it's military victory over Pakistan in 1971 war. 93000 Pak soldiers surrendered. We bow down our heads with gratitude. #VijayDiwas2020," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted.
He also shared a video of the Border Security Forces paying tributes through a relay race. "180 km baton relay race was run by 930 BSF boys and girls in the mid night at international border and completed in less then 11 hours," read his post, which also had a short clip of the relay race.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi: "I send my greetings to the people of the country on the anniversary of India's win over Pakistan in the 1971 war and I also salute the courage of Indian Army. This happened a a time when India's neighbouring countries were aware of the Prime Minister's bravery and they were afraid of breaching borders." His tweet was a veiled dig at the government as India's standoff with China continues in Ladakh.