The Indian National Army (INA) complex where India’s tricolour was hoisted for the first time on April 14, 1944, will be upgraded as a world-class tourist destination.
The decision was taken considering its historic importance and also to attract tourists from across the world.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh said this while launching Manipur Thinkers Forum at INA Memorial Hall at Moirang in Bishunpur District on Sunday.
Biren said that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA are especially close to the Manipuri people, and the modern history of Manipur, because it’s historic connection with the region.
Moirang was the first territory captured by the INA, he said while adding that the battlefields of the INA in Manipur revealed Netaji’s greatness as a military leader and an organizer.
On this day, 75 years ago, he said, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose boarded an airplane in Saigon and flew to Taihoku (now called Taipei) in Taiwan. His disappearance thereafter is still a mystery to many, he added.
Stating that the spirit of freedom is not new to the Manipuri people, he said that the names of Bir Tikendrajit Singh, Thangal General, Paona Brajabashi, Niranjan Subedar, Kajao, Chirai Thangal, Rani Gaidinliu and many others, who fought against the British continue to inspire us.
The tradition was carried forth by the INA freedom fighters of Manipur, such as Mairembam Koireng Singh, Hemam Nilamani Singh, Potsangbam Tomal Singh, M Randhoni Devi and O Keina Devi, to name a few, he added.
Their love for the motherland laid the foundation for strengthening our nationalism, the Chief Minister maintained.
Biren said that the Imphal Campaign, undertaken jointly by the Japanese army and the INA, including the battle of Kohima, is one of the most daring military campaigns in world history.
In 2013, the Battle of Kohima and Imphal was voted as one of the greatest battles in history, based on a national survey conducted by the National Army Museum, he added.
For the INA, the importance of the Imphal campaign was that it was the only major battle in which it would participate with the object of achieving freedom for India, the chief minister stated.
He further said that the British Government instituted a public trial of the Azad Hind Fouz soldiers on charges of treason.
The trial only helped to rouse the people’s patriotic emotion. The exploits of INA led by Netaji stirred the whole nation and the country was thrilled with excitement, he observed.
The Imphal Peace Museum was inaugurated to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal (on June 22), he said adding that the museum also features names of the local people of Manipur, who joined the Indian National Army.
Eminent thinker, author and board of governors’ member of India Foundation, Ram Madhav presented a talk on the topic, ‘Subhas Chandra Bose, INA and Contributions of Manipur’ on the occasion.
Ram Madhav observed that the present generation must try to understand and acknowledge the spirit of Indian National Army – the sense of strong patriotism and love for one’s motherland.
Works minister Th Biswajit, Lok Sabha MP Dr R K Ranjan Singh and Manipur State Women’s Commission chairperson Meinam Binota also spoke on the occasion.
Manipur Public Service Commission Chairman Lt General L N Singh (Retd) and Central Agricultural University vice chancellor Prof M Premjit Singh also attended the function.