“From Bofors to the helicopter deal, all investigations are pointing to one family,” said Narendra Modi on Monday, 25 February, as he attacked the Congress party.

He further said that it’s family first – and not India first – for the Congress.

The Prime Minister was addressing the Armed Forces community during the inauguration of the National War Memorial at the India Gate in New Delhi. The memorial has been built in memory of soldiers killed in action since Independence.

Modi shared some photos of the memorial ahead of the inauguration.

On Sunday, 24 February, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar said the Amar Jawan Jyoti, built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pak War of 1971, “will continue to be there”. Amar Jawan Jyoti is a memorial symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier’s helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it.

What Do We Know About the War Memorial

The National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.

The 42-metre-high India Gate was built during the British Raj as the All India War Memorial Arch to honour the soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919).

The landmark has the names of soldiers inscribed on its surface.

“Over 80,000 Indian laid their lives in those campaigns and India Gate bears names of 13,516 etched over its surface. Amar Jawan Jyoti was built to commemorate India’s victory in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. So, both flames will have their own importance,” Lt Gen Rajeshwar said.

Lt Gen Rajeshwar said at the new memorial there will be a wreath-laying retreat ceremony held every evening where people can join in.

The names of 25,942 battle casualties have been inscribed across 16 walls at the national memorial.

Asked if new names can be added there, he said, “Yes, there is a scope for that… We will hold a periodic review for that.” He also informed that only names of those soldiers have been included in the new memorial, which were “frozen in time” before we began the construction work began in February last year.

“The cut-off date for including those names of fallen soldiers was till 2017 for the Army and early 2018 for the Air Force and Navy,” Rajeshwar said.

He said footfall of about 250 can be accommodated at a time, so it will be regulated.

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