India has always been a peace-loving nation, but that does not mean it would spare those who cast an evil eye, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told soldiers during his message in a radio address through All India Radio on Monday.
“We not only seek peace but also express our commitment to peace through our actions. But at the same time, we are also very clear that if anyone dares to look at us with ill intention or hostility, our forces will give a befitting reply,” he said on the eve of the 77th Independence Day.
The minister said the government is making all efforts to modernise the Armed Forces with state-of-the-art weaponry and the best training to protect the country from all future challenges.
“The Armed Forces can give their best only when they are provided with the best equipment and training. These steps boost the morale of the soldiers, help them overcome challenges and emerge victorious,” he said, adding that the government is leaving no stone unturned to provide the military with world-class equipment and training.
“New branches and trades are being created according to the new emerging needs,” he said.
Singh said today the Armed Forces are being trained with simulators and other modern techniques and their capabilities are being enhanced through several exercises with friendly countries across the globe.
“Training on niche systems, newly developing technologies and changing concepts of warfare is the need of the hour. For this, necessary steps are being taken to train a large number of personnel within the country as well as abroad, wherever the best training is available,” he said.
Highlighting the various welfare measures taken for the veterans in recent years, he mentioned that the long-pending demand of the Armed Forces for One Rank One Pension scheme was fulfilled by the government as soon as it came to power in 2014.
“The scheme has been revised this year and an amount of Rs 8,413 crore has been paid to more than 17 lakh pensioners,” he said.
Singh said the Army has inducted women officers into the Artillery Regiment for the first time this year and the government has taken the step to get the talented daughters of the country admitted to Sainik Schools.
“Today, more than 1,600 girls are obtaining education in various Sainik Schools nationwide. This would further increase the participation of brave daughters in the defence of the nation and they would achieve greater heights in the times to come,” he said.
Talking about India’s contribution to United Nations’ peacekeeping missions, Singh said it is the exemplary professionalism, humanitarian approach and courage of the Indian soldiers that they are in utmost demand for serving in any UN peacekeeping mission.
“On the occasion of the 77th Independence Day, whether you are standing on the snowy peaks of Kargil where there is lack of oxygen to breathe, whether you are in a submarine in the deep sea, whether you are standing in the hot desert of Thar, or whether you are standing in the middle of evergreen forests in the north-east of India, wherever you are, I want to say that you all reside in the hearts of 140 crore Indians,” he said.