Be prepared for any challenge, says Rajnath to Indian armed forces
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said efforts are being made to resolve the differences on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh through dialogue with China and that the process of disengagement has been completed at some places.
In an address to the armed forces on the eve of the 75th Independence Day, Singh said the dimensions of security are constantly changing in the evolving environment and called upon the three services to be prepared for any challenge that may come their way.
"I call upon you to be prepared for any challenge that may come your way. I assure you that the government is ready and will continue to always meet your and your loved ones' needs," he said, in comments that came in the backdrop of the deteriorating security scenario in Afghanistan.
Singh said the Indian civilisation has always been peaceful since ancient times, but peace is not possible without power.
"If non-violence is our ultimate duty, protecting the integrity of the nation is equally important. Therefore, we are ready to sacrifice anything for unity and integrity of the nation," he said.
"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 or sky," he said.
The defence minister also said that the situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir remained in check over the last year due to vigilance and indomitable valour of the Indian armed forces.
"Ceasefire violations have also come down since February 2021. The infiltration from across the border has stopped due to vigilance of the armed forces and para-military forces," he said in the address aired on All India Radio.
"In eastern Ladakh, efforts are being made to resolve the differences on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) through dialogue with China. The process of disengagement has been completed at some places," he said referring to the border row with China.
Both sides have already disengaged from areas around the North and South banks of Pangong lake as well as from Gogra.
Referring to Army Subedar Neeraj Chopra's feat, Singh said he has made this year's Independence Day even sweeter by winning the gold medal in the Javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Subedar Neeraj as well as other Olympic medalists have been specially invited to the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort tomorrow. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for this," Singh said.
The minister greeted the armed forces on the occasion of Independence Day.
"The nation is ushering in an important phase of Independence from midnight today, the 75th year of it. There is an atmosphere of celebration all around the country on this momentous occasion," he said.
The defence minister said the government has always been aware of the operational requirements of the armed force, adding the capital outlay has been increased from Rs 1.13 lakh crore to Rs 1.35 lakh crore in the Union Budget for 2021-22.
He assured the armed forces that the government will take every step to protect the country.
Referring to the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets to maintain the "operational edge" of the Indian Air Force, Singh said 26 aircraft out of 36 have already arrived in India and the remaining ones too will reach soon, adding the fleet will bring qualitative enhancement in the defence capability of the force.
The defence minister said Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant completed its four-day maiden sea voyage on August 8 and that the construction of the warship is a major achievement of the 'Make in India' initiatives.
"In another important initiative of 'Make in India', Ministry of Defence has launched a project worth over Rs 40,000 crore for construction of six conventional submarines named Project 75 (India) for Indian Navy on July 20," he said.
He said the Request for Proposal (RFP) under the strategic partnership model has been issued for the programme to the partners selected for it, adding that these submarines will be very effective in protecting India's strategic interests.
Singh also mentioned the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) recent successful demonstration of the hypersonic scramjet technology with the testing of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV).
He also talked about the successful test-fired Agni P and some other missiles.
The defence minister said that the government constituted the Special Number 5 Selection Board in September 2020 for the permanent commission of women officers following a judgement on the matter by the Supreme Court.
He said on the recommendation of the board, permanent commission was awarded to some officers in November last year.
"The Supreme Court in March 2021 had passed another order for permanent commission to women officers...
"Thereafter, on the recommendation of the Board, 147 more women officers were awarded permanent commission last month," he said.
So far, 424 women officers out of 615 have availed this benefit, he added.