New Delhi: The government on Wednesday set the ball rolling for a Rs 500 crore National War Memorial and National War Museum near India Gate to be built in memory of over 22,500 soldiers who laid down their lives post-Independence with the cabinet approving the long-pending proposal.
Described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "perfect tribute" to the country's brave soldiers, the memorial and the museum in Princess Park here is estimated to be completed in five years.
Post-Independence, more than 22,500 soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice in national interest and in defence of the sovereignty and integrity of the country. However, even after 69 years of Independence, no memorial to commemorate the martyrs has been constructed till date.
"The National War Memorial will be a perfect tribute to our brave soldiers who have given their lives for the nation," Modi tweeted.
The National War Memorial will be a perfect tribute to our brave soldiers who have given their lives for the nation. http://t.co/gpTywHGjlB— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 7, 2015
With this decision, a long-pending demand of the armed forces has been redressed, an official statement released after the Cabinet meeting said.
It has been decided that the project will be monitored by an empowered Steering Committee chaired by Defence Secretary and assisted by a dedicated project management team, to ensure that the project is completed within the scheduled time frame.
Post commissioning, a management body will be formed for maintenance of the National War Memorial and the museum. The steering committee will now work on issuing an international request for information (RFI) for both domestic and foreign firms to come forward with their ideas and designs.
Government sources said Prime Minister Modi has given clear directions that the memorial should be world class and one of the best globally.
The memorial will not only take into account the martyrs of the various wars that India fought, but also the soldiers who were killed in counter-insurgency and anti-terror operations in the North East, Jammu and Kashmir, besides other places and battles fought in Siachen and IPKF operations in Sri Lanka.
"This government will be establishing a war memorial and a museum with a deep sense of gratitude to honour those brave soldiers, who laid down their lives.
"The memorial will promote a sense of patriotism in the minds of visitors, and will award an opportunity to citizens of this vast nation, to express their token sense of gratitude to the brave soldiers, who laid down their lives for the mother land," the statement said.
While their final movements would have gone unnoticed and on occasions their final resting place unknown, this museum will capture those poignant moments in history and bring out the variegated nature of their commitments, it said.
"Their dedication, this government feels, is a part of unfinished work in nation-building. This government resolves with all its humility at its command that they did not die in vain and that Bharat Mata is enriched by their contribution. A visit to the memorial shall inspire us to rededicate ourselves to this great nation with utmost devotion," the statement said.