India among powerful nations: Rajnath

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday laid the foundation stone for construction of the Army headquarter’s new building in Delhi Cantonment and asserted the world now recognises that India stands among the powerful nations.

The defence minister asserted that the world now recognises that India is a not a “weak India, but it stands among the powerful nations globally” and the credit for that goes to “our brave soldiers and the jawans who have made sacrifices”. The Army headquarters is currently housed in the iconic South Block at Raisina Hill in Lutyens’ Delhi. The new department of military affairs headed by the chief of defence staff (CDS) will be housed in this new building, Singh said.
Singh said the desire of soldiers who laid down their lives was not that people would know and recognise them, but “their only desire was that India should be a capable and a powerful country”. This foundation stone will serve as a source of inspiration for others, he said. “Due to our brave soldiers, our country is known as a capable and a powerful one, and India has the capacity and strength to face big challenges,” the defence minister said.
Army Chief Gen M M Naravane was also present on the occasion and a large number of defence personnel and jawans were among the audience.
Christened ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’, the seven-storeyed complex designed “like a rising sun”, will be spread over nearly 39 acres, officials said.
Asked how long will the project take, the Army chief, on the sidelines of the event, said, “It will take about three-four years for the new building to come up”.
The office of the Army chief is also located in the imposing South Block which is part of the historic Raisina Hill complex built during the colonial era as part of the “new imperial capital” of the British Raj.
“About 2,900 officials from the military and 3,100 civilians will be working here,” a senior official said, adding that the cost of the project would be in excess of Rs 700 cr.
The North Block and South Block, Viceroy’s House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) and Parliament House, surrounded by a lush green landscape and imposing fountains, were built during the construction of ”New Delhi” that started in 1912.
“The new building complex will also have 250 security personnel for whom lodging facility will be there on the campus. The building will comply to ‘prestigious norms’ and have a GRIHA-5 rating. It will have three entry-cum-exit points — on NH-44, Parade Road and Link Road,” the official said. There will be parking for 4,000 cars, he said.
Singh said, having a centralised office will lead to reduction in number of cars, and “many persons could even walk to the new Bhawan,” which will help address the issue of pollution too.
The officials had said that people would have access to the North and the South Blocks once they are turned into museums. (PTI)

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