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Nation remembers 1971 war heroes on 'Vijay Diwas'

December 16, 2005 21:50 IST
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The country on Friday celebrated 'Vijay Diwas,' marking the Indian armed forces' victory over Pakistan in 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee offered floral tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in the presence of the chiefs of the three services.

"India is proud of its armed forces, which is never found wanting," said Pranab, adding that the sacrifices by the soldiers have paved the way for India emerging as a confident military and economic power.

Mukherjee said welfare of soldiers and ex-servicemen was the "top priority" of his ministry.

The Ex-servicemen Welfare Scheme of the Defence Ministry would cover one crore pensioners and their dependents, he added.

The armed forces put on display the GNAT and MIG-21 fighter planes which participated in the 1971 war at the India Gate lawns.

A photograph exhibition, highlighting the operations, was also mounted at the India Gate.

Four MI17 helicopters flew past the India Gate and a Chetak helicopter dropped flower petals followed by a cultural programme by National Cadet Corps cadets and a tri-service band.

It is for the first time that the 'Vijay Diwas' was celebrated on such a large scale in the national capital.

Meanwhile, in Kashmir, special functions were held to commemorate the day.

The main function was held at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar, where GOC 15 Corps Lt General S S Dhillon laid wreath at the Corps War Memorial on behalf of all ranks.

He said the day was being celebrated to remember those martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save the honour and dignity of the nation.

In Uttar Pradesh, the celebrations began with a solemn wreath laying ceremony to martyrs at 'Smritika,' the Central Command War memorial.

The wreaths were laid by Lt Gen Ram Subramanyam GOC-in-C Central Command, Lt Gen Ashok Vasudeva, Chief of Staff Central Command Lt Gen Yogendra Singh, Commandant, AMC Centre and School Lt Gen (Retd) Sami Khan, Lt Gen (Retd) Vijay Singh, Lt Gen (Retd) D S Chauhan as well as senior serving and retired officers of Air Force and Navy at the station.

Meanwhile, in Gujarat, Air Marshal S K Jain, AOC-in-C SWAC (South-West Air Command), led the proceedings at the Shaheed Smarak, where he placed a wreath at the memorial built by the citizens, a press release said.

In Punjab, an impressive function was held at the Vajra Corps War Memorial to pay rich tributes to the martyrs and gallant soldiers.

Maj Gen B J Gupta, officiating General Officer Commanding Vajra Corps, former Army Commander Western Command Lt Gen Surjit Singh Sangra, local hero of 1971 war Veer Chakra winner Sub Major (retired) Harbhajan Singh and several other serving and retired army officers paid floral tributes at the memorial.

Similar wreath laying ceremony was held in Meghalaya. Major General A K Nanda, General Officer commanding IOL Area laid wreath on behalf of the Army while Air Commodore B C Nanjapa VSM, of Eastern Air Command, laid wreath on behalf of the Air Force.

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Source: source