New Delhi: On the eve of 75th Independence Day celebrations, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday called upon the armed forces to be prepared for any challenge that may come their way.
He asserted that the dimensions of security are constantly changing in the evolving environment and the Indian government is always ready for it.
He also said that the government has always been aware to meet the armed forces’ operational requirements.
In the Union Budget for 2021-22, for the modernisation of the defence sector, the capital outlay has been increased from Rs 1.13 lakh crore to Rs 1.35 lakh crore which is 18.75 per cent higher than the previous financial year.
“I want to assure you that the government will take every step to protect the country,” he said.
During his radio address to the armed forces, Singh said: “I assure you (soldiers) that the government is ready and will continue to always meet the needs of you and your loved members.”
The Defence Minister remembered the soldiers who laid down their lives in securing India’s sovereignty, and assured their family members that not only all the Indians are with them, but the grateful nation will always remember their sacrifice.
“While non-violence is our ultimate duty, protecting the integrity of the nation is also equally important. Therefore, we are ready to sacrifice anything for the unity and integrity of the nation,” he said.
Singh asserted that to maintain peace and prosperity in the country, it is necessary that the armed forces remain alert and aware in protecting the nation wherever they are — in water, land or sky.
Speaking about Eastern Ladakh, he said that efforts are being made to resolve the differences along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) through talks with China.
He said that that the process of disengagement has been completed in some places.
Coming to Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said that the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) has remained under control in the last one year due to strict vigilance and indomitable valour of the forces.
He also lauded Indian Army Subedar Neeraj Chopra for winning the first gold medal for India in a track and field event at the Olympics. Javeling thrower Chopra had created history last Saturday by clinching the gold at Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking about air power, the minister said that to maintain the operational edge of the Air Force, the Centre had signed government-to-government agreement with France for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft and so far 26 of them have arrived in India.
He also lauded the Union Cabinet’s decision to procure indigenous fighter aircraft 83 LCA Tejas MK-1A for the Air Force at a cost of Rs. 45,696 crore.
MK-1A is a fourth-generation state-of-the-art fighter aircraft designed and developed in India.
“Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture these aircraft in India itself. This is a remarkable example of strengthening the aim of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in the field of defence,” Singh added.
The minister also said that on August 8, indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant completed its four-day maiden sea voyage, which is a big achievement towards self-reliant India.
IAC Vikrant has been built with more than 76 per cent indigenous material.
Singh also lauded the project worth over Rs 40,000 crore for the construction of six conventional submarines — Project 75 (India) — for the Indian Navy.