The Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on Monday criticised the Centre for not building a war memorial for thousands of soldiers who laid down their lives in wars and the fight against terrorists.

He was speaking at a programme organised by the Shahid Gaurav Committee and the Lodha Foundation here on completion of 50 years of Ae Mere Watan ke Logon, which was written during the India-China war.

Lata Mangeshkar, who had first sung the song in 1963, was felicitated by Mr. Modi.

“Ours would be the only country in the world which does not honour its martyrs through a war memorial. It is the government’s duty to honour its defence forces,” he said.

Mr. Modi said people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari were demanding a war memorial and the government should take a note of the plea.

Calling for dynamic policy changes to encourage Indian businesses in the defence industry, he targeted the government for importing arms. “If the country decides and if it gets able leadership bringing dynamic policy changes, our business community will start exporting arms in the next 10 years,” he said, underscoring the need for defence-related courses in engineering colleges.

Attacking the neighbouring country for forcing a ‘proxy war’ on India, Mr. Modi said the country had lost more jawans to such acts than in an actual war. The families of the martyrs in the 26/11 attacks and 50 defence personnel who lost their lives were felicitated by Mr. Modi.

General (retd.) Ved Prakash Malik was present.

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