In an obvious reference to Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said countries, which use terrorism as a tool, are now well aware of the fact that India never harms anyone unnecessarily nor does it spare anyone who tries to hurt this country’s unity, integrity and sovereignty.
Talking about the surgical strikes conducted by India in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in 2016, he said the move broke the back of terrorists and sent a strong message to the world that India would eliminate terrorism on its own soil, and if need be, on foreign land as well.
“Whether it was the (military) stand-off with China or ill intentions from Pakistan, our forces have been giving a befitting reply, whenever required,” Rajnath said while addressing the ‘Rising India Conclave’ organised by a private media house.
He said India has led the world on issues like terrorism and has been successful in garnering support to eliminate the menace. From secure borders and self-reliance to a strong economy and a transformed global image, India was rising as one of the strongest countries under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He pointed out that all sectors, especially defence, have been witnessing a transformative change in the last few years, which has guided India to a respectable position on the world map.
The minister credited the bold approach and unwavering resolve of the government, which has ensured secured borders and battle-ready armed forces backed by a self-reliant defence industry. Terming national security as the government’s top priority and self-reliance as the only medium to achieve it, he asserted that relentless efforts were being made to attain ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence.
In this regard, he listed some of the steps taken by the Ministry of Defence, including notification of positive indigenisation lists; earmarking of a record 75 per cent of defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in 2023-24 and efforts to provide local companies access to the international market.
On the success achieved due to these decisions, Rajnath stated that domestic defence production has witnessed a significant increase in the last few years. “We are not only catering our own needs but are also exporting weapons and equipment to other countries. From Rs 900 crores 7-8 years ago, defence exports have skyrocketed and are nearing Rs 14,000 crores in the current Financial Year. Our target is to export defence equipment worth Rs 40,000 crores by 2026,” he said.
Rajnath described India’s diplomacy as another facet of Rising India. The presidency of G-20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year was proof that India’s stature was continuously growing on the world stage, he said.