SINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said that 2016 signifies great professionalism and capability of the Indian army and that he was constantly on phone to ensure the last soldier returns home safely and “all soldiers made him proud by returning to their unit safely.”
Modi arrived in the border area of Nowshehra in Rajouri to celebrate Diwali with the soldiers. He laid wreaths at the war memorial and paid rich tributes to the soldiers who laid down their lives in J&K.
Addressing soldiers, the Prime Minister said that the 2016 surgical strike on the militant camps across LoC signified great professionalism and capability of the Indian army. “I was constantly on the phone at the time of the surgical strike. I wanted to ensure that each soldier who was part of the strike should return safely. All the soldiers who carried out the surgical strike made me feel proud by returning to their unit safely,” Modi said as per news agency KNO.
He said many efforts were made post surgical strike to disrupt peace in J&K. “But our forces kept their morale high and defeated all such moves by giving a befitting reply,” Modi said.
He said that while the entire country celebrates Azadi ka Amrut,Mahautsav to mark the 75 years of Independence, the government has new targets and new challenges ahead.
“There was a time when our forces were fully dependent on foreign arms. Even our soldiers would wait for the spare parts of defence equipment from the foreign countries. It would take years to receive such consignments. The army officer who would sign the procurement deal had to wait till his retirement to receive the same,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the time has changed now.
“Today, the country’s 65 per cent defence budget is being spent within the country to manufacture the equipment. Today, we manufacture Arjun tanks and Tejas aircrafts within the country. More than 200 items including spare parts and other equipment are being made in India itself,” he said. “This way, we have reduced our dependency on the foreign arms.”
He said that from now onwards, girls and women would get admission in all defence schools, colleges and academies. Praising the soldiers for their valour, PM Modi said today the Indian army is different from the forces other countries have. “It is because of your age-old custom, tradition, great professionalism, and commitment towards your motherland. You worship your motherland and this is not seen in any other country. This is what makes you different from others,” he said and added that “I was feeling privileged to be with you on the special occasion of Diwali.” Prime Minister Modi said that he will lit a Diwali lamp to pay tribute to great valour, courage, discipline, professionalism and commitment of soldiers.