Cabinet likely to announce a National War Memorial today

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 19:51 hrs

The Cabinet is likely announce on Thursday the creation of a massive war memorial along the banks of the Yamuna in Delhi, dedicated to all soldiers India has lost in battle since 1947.

A national war memorial — on the lines of the Arlington War Memorial and National Cemetery for American soldiers in the US state of Virginia — has been a long-standing demand of the Indian Armed Forces.

The Arlington War Memorial and National Cemetery, set up during the US Civil War in 1864, is spread over 600 acres and honours a variety of heroes, including those who perished in the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and some of the earliest American soldiers who died in the line of duty.

A group of ministers headed by Defence Minister A K Antony was set up to clear the proposal. In August this year, the panel gave its report. Its first choice was one adjoining India Gate, opposed by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on aesthetic grounds. Now, the war memorial will come up on the banks of the Yamuna. The announcement will serve to distract military and civilian attention from the bitterness, anger and demoralisation at the beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers on the Line of Control, and is likely to notch up brownie points for the government, with just 18 months to go before the general elections of 2014.

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