Antony seeks PM's intervention for War Memorial

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New Delhi, Jun 13 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for an early construction of a National War Memorial in the national capital as a mark of rememberance for the over 50,000 soldiers who died in various incidents since Independence.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister has said his intervention could pave the way for the construction of the Memorial near India Gate. He also blamed the Union Urban Development Ministry with dragging its feet on the issue.

The issue is wrapped in ''bureaucratic red tape'' for the past 40 years. The Urban Development Ministry has claimed that the proposed War Memorial will not be suitable near India Gate.

Noted designer Charles Correa had designed the memorial.

Meanwhile, the Defence Minister has also asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to prepare a Cabinet Note on the War Memorial and its progress in the last 40 years.

When approved, it would be India's first National War Memorial, commemorating soldiers who died in all the wars since World War II.

The India Gate is a War Memorial in New Delhi commemorating the Indian dead of World War I. The India Gate today also houses the tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

A few days ago, the three Service Chiefs had called on Dr Singh and raised the almost five-decade delay in building the proposed Memorial. The Cabinet Note is said to be a follow up of the meeting.

Over 50,000 soldiers have died in wars with Pakistan, China and the counter-insurgency operations in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.


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