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Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate merged with National War Memorial flame

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The Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate has been merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It took place with a military ceremony followed by a parade on Friday, 21 January.

Soldiers from tri services marched, carrying the flame from India Gate to the war memorial metres away.

Air Marshal Balabhadra Radha Krishna, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), presided over the ceremony. The officer laid wreath first at Amar Jawan Jyoti and then at War Memorial. He was welcomed by three deputy chiefs in full military tradition.

Amar Jawan Jyoti was built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. It is a memorial symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier’s helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it.

However, its existence was questioned two years ago when the National War Memorial came into existence. Earlier, tri-services chiefs and visiting delegates would pay respect at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. For 50 years, the flame burned underneath India Gate.

But with the creation of a new eternal flame at National War Memorial and all wreath-laying ceremony on designated days like Republic Day and Independence Day to take place there, the decision was made to merge the two flames.

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National War Memorial was built in memory of soldiers and unsung heroes who have laid down their lives defending the nation since Independence.

It is spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy and 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.

Defence veterans remain divided over merging of flame from India Gate to National War Memorial.

Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur has stated that the eternal flame at India Gate is part of India’s psyche: “You, I and our generation grew up saluting our brave jawans there. While National War Memorial is great, the memories of Amar Jawan Jyoti are indelible.”

He has requested to rescind the decision.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that a 28-feet-tall statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose will be erected next to India Gate.

IANS

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