In a major fillip to realise the long cherished dream of the Indian Armed Forces to have a National War Memorial, the Defence Ministry has prepared a draft cabinet note for its construction and is all set to invite international players to compete in designing process for a world class grand memorial.
According to Army sources, the draft cabinet note contains broad parameters of the proposed war memorial, which is to be constructed in the vicinity of India Gate, that was built to pay homage to those unknown soldiers, who laid down their lives in the first World War.
India has fought five major wars,including the most recent Kargil war, since independence in which more than 22 thousand soldiers were martyred but there is, till date no memorial built to pay homage to them.
Soon after getting approval of the cabinet to the proposal, the Defence Ministry would float an international tender to invite the world renowned firms to participate in design competition, sources said.
The international competition would initially be open to all and 10 top designers shall be down selected for a further race.
''This is probably the first tender of the Defence Ministry which would not be decided on the basis of lowest bidding,'' sources said, adding that the 'best one' will be the criteria.
Indian Army, which is piloting the war memorial project, had shared a design with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in turn suggested that India's National War memorial should be second to none.
"The PM advised Army Chief to attract international designers, so that a majestic memorial is built to pay the gratitude to the martyrs,"sources said.
The War Memorial will come up at the India Gate complex on the Central Vista, with an underground museum located in the adjoining Princess Park. Names of the 22,000 soldiers soldiers who laid down their lives guarding an independent India, would be inscribed on the coronation wall
"The project will cost may be to the tune of Rs 400 crore," said a source. The construction involves a landscape-type memorial around the canopy near India Gate and coronation wall with the names of martyrs inscribed on them. Most part of the memorial will be underground with a subway connecting the canopy area.
The museum will come up at the nearby Princess Park, so that the entire layout did not spoil the aesthetics of the Central Vista.
Armed Forces have been demanding that a grand memorial should be in place in the the names of all those soldiers who fell in the 1947-48 Jammu and Kashmir operation, the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars, Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in the late-1980s and the 1999 Kargil conflict as well as insurgency and terrorism.