After burning for 50 years, the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate lawns will be extinguished forever. The torch will now be merged with the National War Memorial’s torch at a programme on Friday, days ahead of the Republic Day.
The ceremony — scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm– will be presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff chief, Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna, officials said.
Sources said the decision was taken after it was found that the upkeep of two flames is becoming increasingly difficult.
It has also been argued that since the National War Memorial has already been built for the martyrs of the country, why a separate flame should be lit at the India Gate, army sources said.
The National War Memorial, army sources said, also has the names of the martyrs that are inscribed on the India Gate.
The National War Memorial also 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 clash with Chinese troops at Galwan valley.
The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.
The National War Memorial — built over 40 acres at a cost of Rs 176 crore — was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 2019. All military ceremonial events that took place at the India Gate were shifted there after the inauguration.
At the War Memorial, the eternal flame is positioned below the central 15.5 m obelisk. There are four concentric circles – the “Amar Chakra”, “Veerta Chakra”, “Tyag Chakra” and the “Rakshak Chakra”, where the names of 25,942 soldiers are inscribed on granite tablets in golden letters.
The memorial also includes six bronze murals depicting the famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy in a covered gallery in the Veerta Chakra.
The India Gate was built by the British government in the memory of the soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the First World War between 1914 and 1921. In 1972, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was lit in memory of the Indian soldiers who died in the 1971 war with Pakistan.