Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat has asserted that the inculcation of secularism, discipline, integrity and the concept of loyalty to the constitutionally-elected government has made the Indian armed forces contribute to the political stability of the nation.
He was delivering the All India Radio’s prestigious Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture last evening as part of the Prasar Bharati’s celebrations marking the birth anniversary of the ”Iron Man of India”.
While recounting India’s great history and tracing the genesis of India as a federation of intricately linked smaller kingdoms under the aegis of Mauryan Empire, Gen Rawat said, ”Our nation is a fascinating and complex amalgam of many cultures; 22 scheduled languages, over 200 dialects, a dozen ethnic groups, seven religious communities with several sects and sub-sects and 68 socio-cultural sub-regions.”
He emphasised the role of Sardar Patel in envisioning an Indian Nation that was united in diversity; resolute and determined to emerge as a power, capable of rising to any challenge, based on intrinsic strength.
Eloquent in his praise for Sardar Patel’s mission and the herculean task of integrating 565 princely states into a sovereign India, Gen Rawat said that the pillars of nation-building could be surmised as security, justice, economic development and democratic polity and acknowledged the tireless efforts of Sardar Patel in assembling a consensus with the princely states while judiciously employing stratagem prevalent since the age of Chanakya.
He reiterated that India’s unity in diversity shall remain intact due to the virtues of sacrifice, loyalty and discipline of the armed forces.
Gen Rawat said the deployment of the armed forces in the remote areas through cantonments and military stations in inaccessible areas have contributed to the local economy through developmental projects. The contribution of Indian armed forces to UN peace-keeping missions since the mid-50s till date and defence cooperation offered by India in the present world order has emerged as important diplomatic endeavours.