Imphal: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday acknowledged the historic significance of the Battle of Khongjom, 1891, saying that Manipuri soldiers who had used "outnumbered and primitive weapons" in their fight against the British forces "gave their today for our tomorrow".
He said this while inaugurating a War Memorial Monument-cum-Tourist Complex as part of the 125th anniversary of the "Khongjom Day" celebrations in which the President was the chief guest.
The President arrived at the Tulihal International Airport in Imphal at 2.20 pm and was airlifted to the recently constructed Kodompokpi helipad ground in Thoubal district.
The President then headed for Kheba hillock, located 1.5 km from Khongjom, where he inaugurated the War Memorial Monument-cum-Tourist Complex.
Narrating a brief historical account on how "the English East India Company gradually expanded its control over the vast tracts of India" and referring to the Battle of Khongjom, he said that "as per the historians it was the last battle of annexation which began with the 1757 Battle of Plassey".
Khongjom Day is observed on April 23 every year by the government of Manipur to pay tribute to the brave sons of Manipur who made supreme sacrifice for the cause of their motherland.
Paying homage to the brave Manipuri people who fought against the British forces, President Mukherjee said, "for a minimum period of time, a part of Manipur was liberated by INA and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose unfurled the tricolour at a place near Moreh".
Noting that the state is "not just known for natural beauty and cultural variety", he appreciated the pluralism of the state and "urged for development and wished success in every endeavour".
Earlier, the President was accorded a warm welcome by Manipur Governor V Shanmuganathan, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, his deputy Gaikhangam and other top government officers.
Battle of Khongjom marks one of the last battles of the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891 in which the British Army registered a decisive victory.
The President had last visited Imphal in 2014 to attend the 14th Convocation of Manipur University.