India Gate | Commons
India Gate | Commons
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A decision is yet to be taken on where the wreath-laying ceremony will be held on Republic Day.

New Delhi: The India Gate hexagon in the national capital is likely to get its second eternal flame this Republic Day as a mark of respect for the 22,600 Indian soldiers killed in various wars and operations since Independence, as the National War Memorial is set to be inaugurated on its eve.

Top sources said that during a meeting in November last year, it was decided to have two eternal flames — one at the four-decade-old Amar Jawan Jyoti, and the other, a 15-metre-tall obelisk with the flame — at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.

Sources said that a decision is yet to be taken on where the wreath-laying ceremony will be held on Republic Day.

While the Ministry of Defence is working at breakneck speed to finish the project before 25 January, the Prime Minister’s Office is yet to confirm the date of the inauguration, to be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

Sources said the Army has been asked to provide its inputs on where the wreath-laying ceremony should be held in case the memorial is inaugurated a day before.

The wreath-laying has traditionally been done at Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was constructed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi in honour of the 3,843 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

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War Memorial

The armed forces were promised the war memorial decades ago. During the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi had promised to build a war memorial to honour nearly 26,000 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in wars and military operations since Independence.

More than a year after forming the government, the Cabinet headed by Modi sanctioned the construction of the War Memorial in October 2015 at a cost of Rs 176 crore.

The National War Memorial is built at the India Gate C-hexagon and has four landscaped concentric circles.

Spread over 40 acres, the circles are named Amar Chakra (circle of immortality), Veer Chakra (circle of bravery), Tyag Chakra (circle of sacrifice) and Rakshak Chakra (circle of protection).

Busts of 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees have also been created as ‘Param Yodha Sthal’, showcasing details of the valour of the nation’s highest gallantry award winners.

Besides the war memorial, a national war museum is also planned adjoining the memorial. An initial budget of Rs 350 crore has already been allocated for the museum.

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