Imphal: Manipur has the highest ratio of defence officers to population among the states in the country, and the state is proud of its contributions to the armed forces and nation building.
Chief minister N. Biren Singh said this while addressing at an exhibition football match organised by Red Shield Division under the aegis of the Eastern Command and Spear Corps of the Indian Army at SAI Sports Complex, Takyelpat.
The match was organised to celebrate Swarnim Vijay Varsh, the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
Biren said he was honoured to welcome the sacred “Victory Flame” of Swarnim Vijay Varsh to Imphal. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had lit four “Victory Flames” from the eternal flame at National War Memorial, New Delhi on December 16, 2020 and sent it to all four directions of the country to spread the message of India’s victory and sacrifices made by the armed forces.
He exhorted the gathering to spare a moment and join him in remembering the valour and supreme sacrifices that Indian soldiers made in the 1971 war.
Biren said he was honoured to have the presence of Vincet Ekka, son of legendary Lance Naik Albert Ekka in the function. Lance Naik Albert Ekka was given the nation’s highest gallantry award, ‘Param Vir Chakra’ for his courage and supreme sacrifices. His heroic action in the Battle of Gangasagar changed the course of the War in India’s favour, he added.
He also remembered the valour of 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon and Colonel Hoshiar Singh, who also received the Param Vir Chakra for their indomitable fighting spirit and leadership.
The chief minister said eight soldiers from Manipur also laid down their lives for the country in the War.
“As we celebrate Swarnim Vijay Varsh, their courage continues to inspire us and they will continue to live in our hearts and memories for generations to come,” he added.
He also thanked the Indian Army for organising an exhibition football match as part of the Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebration, and complemented TRAU and NEROCA football clubs for an exciting match.
Biren with 57 Mountain Division GOC major general Navin Sachdeva received the “Victory Flame” of Swarnim Vijay Varsh. He also feted the team members of NEROCA and TRAU. The match between the two premier clubs of the state ended in 1-1 draw.