August 15, 2021 2:47:49 am
Although India wants peace, it cannot come without power, and even though non-violence is “our ultimate duty”, it is equally important to protect the nation’s integrity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.
Addressing the armed forces on the eve of Independence Day, Singh said, “Indian civilisation has always been peaceful but peace is not possible without power…(and) if non-violence is our ultimate duty, protecting the integrity of the nation is equally important.”
“Therefore, we are ready to sacrifice anything for the unity and integrity of the nation,” he said.
He told the forces that in order to maintain peace and prosperity in the country, it is “necessary that you should be alert and aware in protecting the nation wherever you are — in water, land, sky”. The “grateful nation always appreciates your great deeds…” he added.
On the challenges on the Pakistan and China borders, and LoC and LAC, Singh pointed out the reaffirmation of ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani armies in February. He said that the “situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir remained under control in the last one year due to our vigilance and indomitable valour”, and “ceasefire violations have also come down since February 2021”. He also said infiltration from across the border has stopped.
Talking about eastern Ladakh, where India and China are entangled in a military standoff since May 2020, Singh said, “Efforts are being made to resolve the differences on the Line of Actual Control through dialogue with China, (and the) process of disengagement has been completed at some places.”
Speaking about some of the major projects for defence modernisation, he said that as of now 26 of 36 Rafale fighter jets India had bought from Dassault in 2016 have reached the country, and on July 28 the Rafale was formally inducted into 101 squadron at Hashimara Air Force Station of Eastern Air Command, which made it the second squadron with the new fighter jets after 17 Squadron in Ambala.
He mentioned that procurement of 83 Mk-1A Tejas fighter jets, the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant completing sea trials, and the launch of P-75 (India) project to build six conventional submarines domestically “will be very effective in protecting India’s strategic interests”.
Lauding the role of all branches of the Defence Ministry in helping the country combat the Covid-19 pandemic, he said that “during the time when Galwan Valley was in national news, the forces peacefully extended a helping hand to civilians and showed solidarity with the Central government’s fight against Covid-19”.
He made special mention of Army Subedar Neeraj Chopra, who won the only gold for India in Tokyo Olympics, who will be present at the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort on Sunday.
Singh also highlighted various projects of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Border Roads Organisation. “Continuous efforts are being made to increase the participation of women in all branches of the Indian Army” he said.