India inaugurates world's biggest statue amid tight security

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the Statue of Unity, the world's tallest statue that pays a tribute to the legendary freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in Gujarat. Its height is 182-metre and is 177 feet higher than China's Spring Temple Buddha.

BJP President Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, and Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel were also present at the inauguration of the statue. The Prime Minister also said that today India is able to have dialogues on its own term which is only because of Sardar.

India has unveiled the tallest statue in the world, which stands at almost 600 feet tall. He had promised the project despite criticism that India couldn't afford to spend so much money on a statue.

Air force jets flew over the figure and rose petals were dropped from helicopters as Mr Modi bent in front of the statue.

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Funds for the statue came from the federal government, state-run companies and other institutions, and it was built in 33 months by construction and engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd. Modi initially commissioned the Statue of Unity back in 2010 when he was Gujarat's chief minister.

The statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a key independence leader in India's history, stands at 182m.

Patel led the Indian National Congress which forged the Indian movement for independence, following World War II when the party put pressure on the British government to pass an independence bill in July 1947. Even the outer layer of statue required over 1,700 tonnes of bronze.

Surrounded by the waters of the Narmada river, the statue stands at five times the height of Rio De Janeiro's famous statue of Christ The Redeemer and more than double the height of Russia's imposing The Motherland Calls statue in Volgograd.

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Locals in the Narmada district of Gujarat state, where the statue is located, threatened to protest the statue's unveiling.

Indian policemen gather next to the Statue of Unity.

"Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed", Gandhi said on social network Twitter, using an honorific for Patel.

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