Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday paid tributes to the heroes of the India-Pakistan war of 1971 to commemorate 50 years of India’s victory. He lit a victory torch at the National War Memorial in Delhi.
“On Vijay Diwas we recall the unwavering courage of our armed forces that resulted in a decisive victory for our nation in the 1971 war,” the prime minister tweeted. “On this special Vijay Diwas, had the honour of lighting the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ at the National War Memorial.”
Four victory torches will be lit from the eternal flame at the war memorial and carried to different parts of the country, including the native places of the soldiers who won the Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra for the 1971 war, PTI reported, citing the Ministry of Defence.
India will celebrate the whole year as the “Swarnim Vijay Varsh” or golden victory year.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, unveiled the logo for the celebrations. He also paid a tribute to the soldiers on Twitter.
“Today, on the occasion of Vijay Diwas, I salute the valour of the Indian Army,” he said. “I remember the soldiers who wrote the saga of bravery in 1971. Their sacrifice is a source of inspiration for all Indians. This country will always remember him.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also remembered the war heroes. “On this day in 1971, the Indian Army, with its indomitable courage and valor, made a historic change on the world map, protecting the universal values of human freedom,” he tweeted. “This mark with golden letters in history will continue to make every Indian proud. Happy Vijay Diwas.”
“On Vijay Diwas, let us recall the valour of our soldiers that affirmed our nation’s unwavering commitment to defend our sovereignty and protect human dignity,” President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted. “Their martyrdom in 1971 war had shown unparalleled grit and prowess of our forces. The nation is eternally indebted to them.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also extended his wishes. “In celebration of India’s historic victory over Pakistan in ‘71, greetings to the countrymen and salute the valor of the army,” he tweeted. “This happened when the neighboring countries of India saw the Prime Minister of India as iron and were afraid of violating the border of our country.” His tweet was a jibe at the Centre over the continuing border tensions with China.