Chandigarh: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday recalled the contribution and role of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in different wars since Independence and said it has stood like a “strong wall” in protection of the nation.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating development projects for Chandigarh, he also said India has always stood for truth, justice and humanity. At a separate event, the defence minister inaugurated the IAF heritage centre.
Singh also paid tributes Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch, the late, Parkash Singh Badal.
Remembering the valour of air warriors in ensuring victories in different wars, Singh said the IAF has played a very important role in protecting the sovereignty of the country and the nation will always remain indebted to its sacrifices.
“The IAF has played a very important role in protecting the sovereignty of our country. Our country, after getting independence, faced many crises, in which our air force stood like a strong wall in the security of the country,” he said.
Singh lauded the IAF for its strength and professionalism shown in the 1948 Indo-Pak war, 1961 Goa Liberation War, the 1962 Sino-India was and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Regarding the India-Pakistan 1971 war, Singh said the jointmanship, integration and commitment showcased by the three services was unprecedented and extraordinary.
The 1971 war was not fought for land or power. The main objective behind this war was to protect the dignity of humanity and democracy, the defence minister said.
“It proved that India believes in ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ and it is our duty to stand against any kind of injustice,” he said.
“You are aware that Pakistan, even long after independence, could not proceed through the democratic process towards general elections. If there was something in the name of governance, it was ‘martial law’ and sometimes it was ’emergency rule’,” Singh said.
When the general elections were held for the first time in 1970 in Pakistan, instead of giving an opportunity to the winning outfit, they were sent to jail, he said.
“Not only sent them to jail, but also common and innocent citizens who were demanding human rights were massacred on a large scale during this period,” Singh said.
In such a situation, to liberate people there from such a cruel regime was “our country’s ‘raj dharam’, ‘rashtra dharam’ and ‘sainya dharam’”, he said.
Winning the war on the strength of strategies and not imposing any kind of political control there symbolised India’s strengths as well as its values and cultural generosity, Singh said.
Singh said India, which considers the whole earth as its family, will always be proud of the fact that it has always stood on the side of truth, justice and humanity whenever the need arose.
“This was also the basis of the 1971 war. The achievements and learnings of this war guided us in future conflicts as well,” the defence minister said citing the victory in the 1999 Kargil war.
While speaking about cyber frauds, Singh said anti-national elements have such weapons which one cannot spot and these have the capability to cause big damage.
He said a centre for cyber operation and security has been established here and added that neighbouring states and their police force can take advantage of this to solve cases. It will help strengthen cyber security, Singh said.
The defence minister also inaugurated a ‘gaushala’ (cow shelter) here and said “the cow is an important centre of faith of people in Indian society”.
“Many a times, it is seen that cows are left as strays. Many times it is seen that cows are wandering here and there. I feel that this is a symbol of the ungratefulness of human society. We should ponder over this. To ensure they are looked after is important,” Singh said.
Singh also laid the foundation stone of a hostel block at a government college and extension of a boys hostel in the Punjab Engineering College. (Agencies)