Two years after the Centre approved a proposal for the construction of a National War Memorial at India Gate, sources said construction is set to begin by mid-November. The memorial is being built to honour over 22,600 soldiers who died in various wars with China and Pakistan since Independence. Sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the memorial next year in November.
Sources told The Indian Express that while the memorial will come up at India Gate’s C Hexagon, a museum will be built at Princess Park next to the lawns.Work is set to begin after the World Food India 2017 ends on November 5. Sources in the Delhi Police said that they have been briefed about the construction. “The work will be looked after by officials from the Ministry of Defence. Construction was to begin in October, but was delayed due to events such as the Run for Unity and World Food India,” a source said.
According to sources, the project — which will cost around Rs 500 crore — will include an underground tunnel that will connect the memorial and the museum. Once the food festival ends, the defence ministry will take over the site and activities at India Gate will be restricted. However, police sources said there will be no traffic restrictions.
Sources added that the memorial’s walls will be engraved with the names of martyrs while the museum will showcase “heroic moments of the country’s defence forces”. When contacted, the Ministry of Defence spokesperson did not respond to comments. Built by the British, India Gate is a memorial to 82,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died between 1914-21 in the First World War. However, there is no such memorial for soldiers who were martyred after Independence.
Since 1947, the country has fought six wars/operations, including the India-Pakistan wars of 1947-48, 1965, 1971, the 1962 war against China, the Kargil conflict of 1999 and the operation in Sri Lanka against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.