The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate in Delhi was on Friday merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial, in a move that the central government called “historic” for India. In a short ceremony, a part of the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame was taken and merged with the flame at the NWM, which is 400 meters away on the other side of India Gate.
The ceremony was presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff chief Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna, who carried out the significant move of merging the two flames.
Several political leaders, including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, had earlier questioned the central government for effectively shutting down the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame and replacing it with the permanent one at the National War Memorial. However, government sources refuted claims that the Amar Jawan Jyoti was being “extinguished”, and clarified that it was only being merged with the one at the National War Memorial.
According to the government, the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti in the India Gate memorial paid tributes to the martyrs of 1971 and other wars, however, none of the names who made that supreme sacrifice for the country were present there.
The National War Memorial, which was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in 2019, has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops. The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.
The India Gate memorial, on the other hand, was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914-1921. The Amar Jawan Jyoti there was only included in the 1970s after the massive victory of India over Pakistan in which 93,000 troops of the enemy country surrendered.