Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex, by lighting the flame positioned at the bottom of the stone-made obelisk. Drawing inspiration from the ''Chakravyuh'' formation, the iconic memorial boasts of four thematic concentric circles with a tall ceremonial obelisk at its centre that will bear the eternal flame.
A senior defence official said the project has been executed at a cost of Rs 176 crore and its design was selected through a global competition.
PM Modi spoke about the memorial in his ''Mann ki Baat'' programme on Sunday, saying not having such a memorial always pained and surprised him.
"I do believe that for our countrymen, a visit to the National War Memorial will be akin to a pilgrimage to a holy place. The national soldiers' memorial is a symbol of the nation's gratitude to those men who made the supreme sacrifice after we gained Independence," he said.
Here are the Live Updates of the National War Memorial Inauguration:
PM Modi said the previous dispensation put "the family first" while for him it was India first.
He said this while referring to the long delay in construction of the memorial mooted decades ago.
The delay by previous governments in construction of national war memorial was an injustice to families of fallen soldiers, he said.
The Prime Minister said crucial decisions related to defence procurement and strengthening the armed forces were pending but his government cleared them on priority basis.
Addressing the ex-servicemen, he said the government will set up three super-specialty hospitals for them.
Targeting the Gandhi family, the Prime Minister said, "From Bofors to helicopters (AgustaWestland VVIP chopper), all the probe leads to the doors of one family. And it says a lot."
Hitting out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for criticising the 36 Rafale fighter jets deal with France, he said "now these people are using all their tactics so that the modern jet does not come to India."
"But in the next few months, when the first Rafale soars into the sky, all their conspiracies will end," he said.
Attacking the Congress, Modi said, "Few people think their family interests come before the interest of the nation."
I am proud we have a National War Memorial, beyond the eternal flame to the Unknown Soldier which served that role at India Gate. What we need next is a War Museum, so that future generations may be educated w/ facts, images, video&stories of what War meant in historical context. https://t.co/wisZis41Jj- Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 25, 2019
- Due to the sacrifice of many soldiers, we are among the strongest army in the world.
- Whether the problems have come due to enemies or nature, the soldiers have always been at the forefront to protect the country and answered as well.
- Would like to pay respect to every soldier who martyred in Pulwama.
- New India is now moving forwards 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.
- The wait for the national war memorial is over and it is being dedicated to nation at the right time.
- 35000 crore distributed through OROP. Pension budget is now over Rs 1 lakh crore. Salaries of soldiers are up by 55%.
- We have made sure that you don't have to run errands for getting pensions... the system will be made available online.
- Super specialty hospital was a long-pending demand... Glad to announce, we will be setting up three super specialty hospitals for you.
- Women are now fighter pilots. We are also ensuring that women get equal representation in armed forces.
- To make sure that every kid knows about the valour of soldiers, we launched an online platform for gallantry awards.
- We have initiated changes in defence purchase procedure.
- It's a matter of pride for us that the biggest nations want to support us in our initiatives. This is the reason why our country is doing joint exercises with 10 biggest nations in a year. Piracy has vanished from Indian ocean and it is because of the joint exercises of our country with other nations.
- 1,46,000 bullet proofs were demanded by the forces. Soldiers were facing the enemies without these jackets. Between 2009 to 2014, these demands were never met. In the last five years, we have purchased more than 2,30,000 bullet proof jackets.
- The Opposition is trying too hard to ensure the Rafale deal fails...But soon India will get its first Rafale.
- Airports to awards all went to same family. For some, family is bigger than nation.
- Modi is not important, India is above all. Not my name but it should be the stories of valour of the soldiers that should be remembered forever.
- Safety of the country, development of the country is so important than all obstacles on my way.
- Live for the country, die for the country, Live for the 'tiranga', die for the 'tiranga'.
- When you go home, tell them of us... and say, for your tomorrow, we gave 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.
- This war memorial will help us remember our soldiers, their bravery, their hard work
- today, our govt has fulfilled that commitment
- To honour and to pay tribute to the soldiers who lost lives during World War 1 and Afghanistan the memorial at India Gate was created. Post independence, more than 2500 soldiers made the supreme sacrifice in the national interest.
- Today's war memorial structure is a series of 4 concentric circles. The four chakras are named: Amar chakra Vir Chakra Tyag Chakra and Raksha Chakra.
- During Indo-pak wars of 1947, 1965 and 1999, war with china, counter insurgency operation, our soldiers laid their lives for the nation.
- The memorial is so aptly designed that it merges with background so to give an impression that it always existed here.
- I would like to congratulate the entire team of the project.
- It is a pilgrimage place to pay our homage to our soldiers.
- OROP, National War Memorial, other initiatives pending for years have been delivered under able guidance of PM Modi.
Rose petals will be showered during the course of the event by helicopters and a fly-past in ''Missing Man'' formation will also be part of the event.
PM Modi will also attend a rally of ex-servicemen at the National Stadium before unveiling the memorial.
The central obelisk is topped with an Ashokan Capital and the base bears the famous couplet ''Shaheed ki mazron par...'' by poet Jagdamba Prasad Mishra ''Hitaishi''.
Six bronze murals, made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar, depicting famous battles fought by the Army, Air Force and Navy have been put up in a gallery in the Veerta Chakra zone, he added.
Likewise, 16 walls in concentric fashion have been constructed in the ''Tyag Chakra'' area for paying homage to the over 25,000 battle casualties.
Apart from the soldiers who were killed in the wars in 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999, the names of the soldiers who died while on Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Srilanka is also inscribed on the memorial.
"In a short while from now, Rashtriya Samar Smaarak, the NationalWarMemorial will be dedicated to the nation.