Targeting the Congress and the Gandhi family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said probes into the Bofors and (AgustaWestland) helicopter deals have led to “the same family” and “these people” are now trying to block India’s purchase of the Rafale fighter aircraft.
The Prime Minister, who attacked his political opponents while dedicating the National War Memorial in New Delhi to the nation, said: “They made the Army and national security a mode of earning. Perhaps they could not find anything by remembering the martyrs, so it was easy to forget them… From Bofors to helicopters, all the probes reaching the same family speaks volumes. Now these people are using all their strength to see that the Rafale aircraft does not come to India. In the next few months when the country’s first Rafale will fly in India, it will destroy all the conspiracies they hatched.”
“For several decades, there was a demand for a national war memorial. There were a few efforts, once or twice, in the last few decades. But nothing concrete happened. With your blessings, in the year 2014, we started the process to construct the National War Memorial and it is to be inaugurated even before the scheduled time,” Modi said.
“For some people, their family is more important…Today every army man of the country, every citizen is asking the question: why this behaviour with the martyrs… Why was this kind of injustice done with the superheroes who dedicated themselves to the country? What was the reason that no one (in the previous government ) gave any attention to establish a memorial for the martyrs?…. Is it India first or family first? From school to hospital, from highway to airport, stadium to award, we used to see the name of the same family… We changed this… It is my firm belief that Modi is not important, but the country’s civilisation, culture and history are above all,” he said.
Paying homage to the CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack, Modi, accused the Opposition of “compromising national security”, saying demands of the defence sector were not addressed by the previous governments.
“What was happening before in the defence sector, the new generation of the country must be informed. Those who considered themselves as people who decided the destiny of this country left no stone unturned in comprising national security… In 2009, the Army had demanded 1 lakh 86 thousand bullet-proof jackets. Five years passed from 2009 to 2014, but the bullet-proof jackets for the Army were not purchased… our government bought more than 2.30 lakh bullet-proof jackets in the last four-and-half years,” he said.
“Our government has started the task of buying and selling state-of-the-art rifles for the Army. This is being done in national interest… Recently, the government has ordered the purchase of 72,000 modern rifles. At the same time, our government has purchased ammunition of 25,000 crore i.e. ammunition and bullets in mission mode,” he said
He also announced that three Super Specialty Hospital will be constructed for the defence personnel. Underlining changes in defence procurement, he said: “We are constantly working towards making the country’s Army self-reliant…. We have initiated a change in the entire ecosystem of defence production. From licensing to the export process, we are bringing transparency to the whole system and a level-playing field.”