Itanagar, Sep 29 (IANS): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that strengthening India's military prowess has been the Narendra Modi government's top priority ever since it came to power since 2014, with focus on equipping the services with state-of-the-art weapons and equipment through an 'Aatmanirbhar' defence industry.
Terming the armed forces as the very reason behind the strength and confidence of the nation, he said that India's "international image has completely been transformed due to the bold decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the gallant deeds of the armed forces".
"There was a time when India wasn't taken seriously on international platforms. Due to the efforts of our Prime Minister, today we have become an assertor from a mere observer. The Indian military is respected all over the globe. Our friendly foreign countries have trust in them. It is one of the major reasons India has emerged as a powerful nation. Today, we are the fifth largest economy in the world, strongly moving forward," he said while addressing armed forces personnel in Assam's Tezpur.
Rajnath Singh said that the government's efforts have resulted in making a strong military which is fully capable of protecting the nation from all kinds of threats. He lauded the armed forces for instilling a sense of national pride and patriotism among the people, especially the youth, by displaying their strength and courage from time to time.
He commended the dedication and sacrifice of the soldiers posted at the borders, bravely protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country.
Defence spokesman Lt. Col. Manish Shrivastava said that the Defence Minister, accompanied by Army chief Gen Manoj Pande earlier on Thursday visited Anini village in Dibang valley of Arunachal Pradesh.
Rajnath Singh made an on-the-ground assessment of defence preparedness along the Line of Actual Control by taking stock of the entire gamut of security-related aspects.
As part of the day's engagements, he also interacted with the members of second religious expedition to AthuPopu, an annual trek of local Idu Mishmi tribe which is being facilitated by Indian Army since 2021 as part of outreach and continued efforts towards supporting the locals and development of tourism.
Another Defence spokesman Lt. Col. A. S. Walia said that Singh complimented the soldiers for high standards of professionalism and dedication towards duty while safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation braving the harsh weather conditions and inhospitable terrain.
The Defence Minister was briefed on the operational situation and preparedness of the Army by Lt General D.S. Rana, General Officer Commanding, Gajraj Corps. Eastern Command chief, Lt General R.P. Kalita, along with other senior officers, also accompanied the Defence Minister.