New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 India-Pakistan war is expected to be done in a big way, much like other events celebrated or commemorated by the present government.
The Narendra Modi government’s plans include the display of articles related to the war, including photographs of gallantry award winners, war trophies and models of major battles during the war. The events, which will also witness veterans of the war being felicitated, will see Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who led the Indian Air Force during the war, being honoured.
The nature of honour to be bestowed is yet to be decided.
“Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh will be honoured as he was the chief of the Indian Air Force during the war,” a defence ministry official told IANS.
He is the only IAF officer to be promoted to the five-star rank.
The war saw aircraft of the Indian and Pakistani air forces engaging in combat for the first time since independence in 1947. Though the two armies had previously faced off in the war in Kashmir in 1948, that engagement was very limited in scale compared to the 1965 conflict.
While both India and Pakistan claim victory in the war, the commemoration by India is being seen as its iteration that it came up trumps.
During the conflict, India captured around 1,920 sq km of Pakistani territory, while Pakistan captured 550 sq km of Indian territory.
The commemoration, scheduled to take place from August 28 to September 26, will witness all three wings of the armed forces participating.
An official brief on the commemoration prepared by the defence ministry calls it the “most intense war in which India imposed a telling defeat on Pakistan”.
Nearly 3,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen were killed in the war, which lasted 17 days.
According to the countdown, the commemoration will start on August 28, the day the Indian Army captured Hajipir Pass, with a wreath laying ceremony at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial to the Unknown Soldier at the India Gate here.
A tri-service seminar will be held on September 1-2 at the Manekshaw Centre in the national capital, which is likely to see President Pranab Mukherjee as the chief guest. It will also witness the release of a book being published by the three services on the war.
An exhibition will be held from September 15 to September 20 at the lawns near Rajpath, from Janpath crossing to Mansingh crossing in New Delhi, where, among other things, war trophies from the conflict will be on display.
The exhibition will also have a gallantry arena, with photographs of medal awardees of the war; a sacrifice arena, to remember those killed among the three service; and a display arena to exhibit weapons and equipment used during the conflict.
The exhibition will also have an element of entertainment, with performances by servicemen including khukri dance, bhangra, kalaripayattu, motorcycle display teams, millitary band performances and cavalry displays, as also a tattoo, cultural events and martial arts displays.
Tableaus of major battles of the war will also be on display.
A commemorative event, on the lines of ‘Rahagiri concept’ on September 20 is also planned. This will mean closing a section of the Rajpath to enable the public to participate in the event.
On the evening of September 20, a musical evening will be held at the India Gate lawns, with patriotic songs setting the tone.
On September 22, the war veterans will be felicitated.
Along with these, commemoration events will also be held at different stations of the armed forces across the country.