Ahead of formally taking charge as Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh on Saturday visited the National War Memorial here and paid tribute to jawans who laid down their lives for the country post-independence.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh were also present at the memorial.
Singh was allotted the Defence ministry after taking oath as a Union Minister on Thursday. He will take over from his predecessor Nirmala Sitharaman who has been allotted the Finance ministry. During the first term of Modi government, Rajnath had handled the Home ministry.
The war memorial, located next to India Gate in the heart of the national capital, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 this year.
The state-of-art monument spread over an area of approximately 40 acres is dedicated to soldiers who laid down their lives defending the nation during Sino-Indian 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.
The memorial also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made supreme sacrifice in UN Peace Keeping Missions, during HADR Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations and Low-Intensity Capital Operation (LICO).
The monument has four concentric circles, namely, the ‘Amar Chakra’ or Circle of Immortality, the ‘Veerta Chakra’ or Circle of Bravery, the ‘Tyag Chakra’ or Circle of Sacrifice, the ‘Rakshak Chakra’ or Circle of Protection.
The complex also includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame, six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy in a covered gallery (Veerta Chakra).
Likewise, 16 walls have been constructed in the Tyag Chakra for paying homage to the 25,942 battle casualties.
The names of soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice have been inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern which symbolises the ancient Indian war formation ‘Chakravyuh’.
The outermost circle called Rakshak Chakra comprises rows of more than 600 dense trees with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation round-the-clock.
The complex also has graphic panels and stone murals. Busts of the 21 awardees of Param Veer Chakra have been installed at Param Yoddha Sthal which includes three living awardees – Sub Maj (Hony Capt) Bana Singh (Retd), Sub Major Yogendra Singh Yadav and Sub Sanjay Kumar.
The construction of the memorial had received in-principle approval of the Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi on October 7, 2015.