New Delhi: Commemorating the 20th anniversary of 'Operation Vijay', Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday ignited a 'victory flame' at the National War Memorial here.
According to the Army, the 'victory flame' will be carried by a team of motorcyclists over 11 towns and cities to finally merge with the eternal flame at the Kargil War Memorial in Dras. Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26 to honour those who laid down their lives during the Kargil War. "I pay homage to Army jawans who sacrificed their lives while securing the country's borders. I also offer sincere condolences and respects to their families," Singh told reporters.
A number of events have been planned by the Army in Delhi and Dras to mark the 20th anniversary of the war. One of the major events planned during the celebrations was the relay of the victory flame from the National War Memorial (NMW) in New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Dras. All along the journey, Army personnel will be paying homage to the heroes who fought valiantly for the nation, the Army said in a statement.
The Army said the Union defence minister handed over the flame to ace Army shooter Subedar Jitu Rai at the NMW here. Before that, Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat ignited the torch from the eternal flame of the NMW. The victory flame symbolises the coalescence of souls of the Kargil War martyrs, it stated. "The victory flame will be carried by the Indian Army's outstanding sportsmen and war heroes. It will pass through nine major towns/cities of North India and finally culminate at the karambhoomi of the martyrs at the Kargil War Memorial on July 26, where it will be received by the CoAS," the statement read.
The design of the victory torch has been inspired by the grit, guts and glory displayed by those who made the supreme sacrifice for the motherland in the finest tradition of the Indian Army, it stated. The torch is made of copper, brass and wood which symbolises the tenacity and determination of the war heroes. The upper part of the torch has a metal etching of the Amar Jawan, epitomising unknown soldiers.
"The lower wooden portion of the torch has 20 gold embossed inscriptions of the Amar Jawan, exemplifying 20 glorious years of the Kargil victory," the statement read. The event was attended by Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GOC-in-C, Northern Command; Lt Gen Y K Joshi, GOC, Fireand Fury Corps; Subedar Sanjay Kumar and a large number of dignitaries.