English rendition of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh’s address on All India Radio to Armed Forces on the eve of Independence Day 2021
14 AUG 2021 7:39PM by PIB Delhi
My dear Sainik brothers and sisters,
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. I extend my warm greetings on behalf of the grateful nation to the brave soldiers and military officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard who are engaged in protecting the Nation from the high peaks of the Himalayas to the depths of the Oceans and from the Thar desert to the arduous forests of the North-East.
Our Army Subedar Neeraj Chopra has made this year’s Independence Day even sweeter by winning first Gold Medal in the Javelin Throw event of track and field events for the country at the Tokyo Olympics. Subedar Neeraj as well as other Olympic medalists of Indian athletes have been especially invited to the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort tomorrow. I thank Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji for this.
I also extend my greetings to the brave Ex-Servicemen of the country at this auspicious occasion of Independence Day who were always ready to protect the Nation. And… no one can forget the families of our brave soldiers who have offered their dearest youths to the Service of the Nation.
It is also an occasion today to remember the brave soldiers who have made their supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. I assure their family members that not only all Indians are with you but the grateful nation will always remember them.
Indian Civilisation has always been peaceful since ancient times, but peace is not possible without power. There is also saying:
अहिंसा परमोधर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च
If non-violence is our ultimate duty, protecting integrity of the Nation equally important. Therefore, we are ready to sacrifice anything for unity and integrity of the Nation.
Therefore, 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 in serving the country while staying away from your family and relatives.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to share some of the main events and decisions with you that are important for strengthening our freedom.
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. 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.
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.
The Government of India has always been aware to meet your operational requirements. In the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22, in a historic effort for modernisation of defence sector Capital Outlay has been increased from Rs 1.13 lakh crore to Rs 1.35 lakh crore which is 18.75 per cent higher than the previous financial year. I want to assure you that the Government will take every step to protect the country.
You may recall that in order to maintain the Operational Edge of the Air Force, the Government of India had signed Government to Government agreement with France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft. So far, 26 aircraft have arrived in India. On July 28, the Rafale was formally inducted into 101 squadron at Hashimara Air Force Station of Eastern Air Command. So far, only 101 squadrons have got the distinction of being equipped with Rafale after Air Force Station Ambala, 17 Squadron ‘the Golden Arrow’. Soon the remaining Rafale aircraft will also arrive in India which will bring qualitative enhancement in the defence capability of our Air Force.
The Union Cabinet on January 13, 2021 decided to procure indigenous fighter aircraft 83 LCA Tejas MK-1A for the Air Force at the cost of about Rs. 46,000 crore (Rs. 45,696 crore). Light combat Aircraft MK-1A is a fourth-generation state-of-the-art fighter aircraft designed and developed in our own country. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture these aircraft in India itself. This is a remarkable example of strengthening the aim of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ in the field of defence.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier IAC Vikrant completed its four days maiden sea voyage on August 8, 2021. Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’ designed by Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). Built with more than seventy-six per cent indigenous material, the vessel is a major achievement of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and provides thrust to Indian Navy’s ‘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 20,2021. Request for Proposal for Acquisition Programme (RFP) under Strategic Partnership Model has been issued to the partners selected for the project. These submarines will be very effective in protecting India’s strategic interests.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently successfully demonstrated hypersonic scramjet technology with the testing of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV). It also successfully test-fired Agni P and some other missiles.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) also launched anti-tank guided missile through man portable launcher. In the meantime, the New Generation Akash (Akash-NG) missile was successfully test fired. The flight test has validated the functioning of complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed RF Seeker, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control & Communication system.
Border Roads Organisation personnel have always been working to ensure road connectivity in the inaccessible areas of remote northern and eastern India, but they have contributed yeoman for some time now. The most important example of this is the incredible achievement of building an Atal Tunnel at one of the most difficult terrain of the Pir Panjal ranges of Himachal Pradesh. It was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendera Modi on October 03, 2020. The 9.2 kilometre-long tunnel is the longest tunnel in the world constructed at the height of more than 10,000 feet.
The Border Roads Organisation has constructed a 52 kilometres long charcoal road in eastern Ladakh near Umlingla Pass at an altitude of 19,300 feet this month by creating a world record. The temperature in this area usually remains minus 50 degrees and the oxygen level in the body reaches 50 per cent. I congratulate all the colleagues of BRO for this achievement.
Ministry of Defence has decided to set up 100 new Sainik Schools to prepare future generations of versatile brave warriors. All these schools will be co-ed which also benefit the daughters of our country and increase their scholarly participation in the defence of the nation.
Continuous efforts are being made to increase the participation of women in all branches of the Indian Army. In the same route, the first batch of Women Military Police has been inducted into the Indian Army. I extend my best wishes to 83 women soldiers who passed out in May 2021 after 61 weeks of rigorous training.
In the light of the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Government had constituted the Special Number 05 Selection Board in September 2020 for Permanent Commission of women officers. On the recommendation of the Board, Permanent Commission was awarded to some officers in November 2020. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in March 2021 had passed another order for permanent commission to women officers who could due to revised norms. Thereafter, on the recommendation of the Board, 147 more women officers were awarded permanent commission last month. So far, 424 women officers out of 615 have availed this benefit.
Indian Coast Guard has been consistently progressing towards women empowerment and offers equal opportunity to women officers in all spheres. They have been marching shoulder to shoulder with male officers, which include their combat role as Pilots, Observers and Air Cushion Vehicle (Hovercraft) operators.
The officers of the Army’s Short-Term Service Commission had been demanding for decades that they too should have the right to exercise their rank when they retired. The Ministry of Defence took a positive decision on the subject. It is expected that this will not only address the grievances of those officers but also inspire the new candidates to join the Short Service Commission.
E-Chhawani Portal has also been launched in February, 2021. This is providing online civic services to 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards.
Indian Forces have always been ready to serve in times of natural calamities. Our forces and coast guard with the National Disaster Management Force played an important role in averting loss of life and property during cyclones Niwar, Burevi, Toukate and Yas and monsoon floods in day and night last year.
The main function of our forces is to protect the country from the enemies. But how can our fighters lie in peace when an invisible biological enemy appears under threat to the nation! It is also said that in times of crisis, capable comes forward and protects the society. That is what our forces did. Whether it was Army or Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, all of them, along with our scientists, doctors, medical personnel and other social workers, efficiently carried out relief and rescue operations, corona vaccination, patient service, and oxygen supply against Corona.
The Armed Forces Medical Service was the first to set up quarantine centres for Indians brought back from Corona affected countries irrespective of the safety of its officers and personnel. Despite the spread of the epidemic, the armed forces have firmly adhered to epidemic control measures and maintained high fighting capacity against the epidemic in the military forces. During the time when the Galwan Valley was in the national media news, the forces peacefully extended a helping hand to the civilians and showed solidarity in the central government’s fight against covid-19. The soldiers posted at the forward posts on the remote borders of the country were vaccinated so that they could be prepared to deal with the enemy at any time.
During the second wave of Corona, all the wings of Ministry Defence established covid care hospitals. To address the shortage of oxygen in the medical system, 935 medical oxygen plants based on technology of DRDO are being set up in every district hospital funded by PM Care across the country.
DRDO got a major breakthrough in finding medicine for Covid treatment. Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad developed a medical application of a drug called 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG) for the treatment of Covid-19 patients which has been very effective. Today we are at a turning point in fight with corona. I am confident that the victory will be ours.
We want that the next generation should be familiar with the valour of our soldiers. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has contributed immensely to value-based character-building including discipline among the youths. We strived to take NCC to all corners of the country. In the last one and a half years, three lakh NCC vacancies have been released out of which one lakh vacancies each are for border & coastal areas, senior and junior divisions. Information Technology has been made part of the training system for making the NCC curriculum even more modern for the benefit of our youth.
Dear soldiers, the dimensions of security are constantly changing in the evolving environment. Therefore, I call upon you to be prepared for any challenge that may come at your way. I assure you that the Government is ready and will continue to always meet the needs of you and your loved members.
And finally, with these words, I would request you all to join hands in salutation for the Motherland!
BHARAT MATA KI JAI!
(Release ID: 1745890)
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