Wednesday, July 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

MoD to go ahead with Vijay Divas
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
After the initial dithering the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to go ahead with the celebrations to mark the second anniversary of the Indian victory over Pakistan in Kargil two years ago, just days after the official visit of President Pervez Musharraf.

Known as “Vijay Divas” the day, July 26, marks the complete Indian victory in the limited war, which Pakistan forced upon India.

This year the day would fall on the tenth day after the completion of the official visit of President Musharraf, the man who was said to be responsible for the Kargil war.

Having assumed the presidentship of Pakistan recently, he would be leaving the Indian soil on July 16 after his exchange with Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee in Agra from July 14.

Sources in the MoD said initially there was an opinion that no celebrations should be held this year to mark the anniversary, which could possibly be misconstrued by the Pakistanis.

There was also an opinion that such celebrations could cause a thaw between India and Pakistan in the talks, which the two countries might undertake in the future. So in the great Indian tradition of being generous hosts it was decided to ignore the celebrations.

But now the MoD, keeping in mind the sentiments not only of the Indian armed forces but also of the Indians at large, has decided to go ahead with the celebrations on July 26.

The MoD officials along with the officials from the three Services and other ministries to be involved, held a preliminary meeting today to decide upon the programme to be organised. The meeting was held at the South Block with Additional Secretary Somi Tandon in charge.

A final decision for the programme is expected to be taken at another meeting slated for Friday.

Sources said as per the preliminary programme, which has been chalked out, there would not only be an exhibition by the three Services but a cultural programme would also be organised in the evening. Besides, there would also be a wreath laying ceremony at the Amar Jawan Jyoti early in the morning.

As per reports, the wreaths would be laid at the Amar Jawan Jyoti by the Prime Minister and the Vice-President Mr Krishan Kant. After the wreath laying ceremony, the two dignitaries would also attend a cultural programme in which cadets from the NCC and schoolchildren would participate.

The exhibition would possibly be inaugurated by the Prime Minister and held at the India Gate lawns. It would possibly be on the lines on which it had been organised last year.

The cultural programme would be organised either at the Talkatora indoor stadium or Nehru stadium. The job for organising the cultural programme has been handed over to the Culture Ministry and the ministry officials would coordinate it with the officials from the MoD.

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