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Keeping war machinery in readiness an imperative: Parrikar

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and MoS Rao Inderjit Singh, alongwith 3 Chiefs of the armed forces, during the 69th Independence Day function at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said keeping the war machinery in readiness and to be able to mobilise troops to forward positions at short notice is an imperative to prevent any misadventure from across the borders.

In his first broadcast to armed forces personnel over All India Radio on the eve of India's 69th Independence Day, Parrikar said there is a need to constantly upgrade and modernise the weapon systems and equipment.

The government is well aware of the need to maintain all- round vigil on the nation's borders and to prevent any misadventure from across the borders, he said in the pre-recorded address.

"Therefore, keeping our war machinery in readiness and to be able to mobilise troops to forward positions at short notice is imperative. At the same time, there is the need to constantly upgrade and modernise the weapon systems and equipment.

"We have taken a number of steps to equip our forces with the best of the arms currently available and are constantly striving to make most of them indigenously. Since taking over, our government has so far sanctioned acquisition proposals worth over 1,60,000 crore rupees," he said.

The Minister said that over eight hundred 155mm mounted artillery guns for Indian Army worth nearly 16 thousand crore rupees are also being acquired and more ammunition purchased to enhance the fire-power.

He said the contract negotiations are also underway for procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft from France, to provide a major boost to IAF's operational capability.

The recent undocking of India's indigenous aircraft carrier in-the-making, INS Vikrant, and the first of Scorpene submarines are important landmarks of our endeavour to build a Blue Water Navy, he said.

Commissioning of a number of marine police stations, naval bases including INS Sardar Patel and establishment of a new Coast Guard Air Enclave at Bhubaneswar will strengthen the coastal security of the country, he added.

The government is taking measures to equip the Navy with the state-of-the-art warships, submarines and naval helicopters.

Parrikar complimented army personnel for the "daring" raid along the India-Myanmar border and repulsing ceasefire violations at the LoC by Pakistan.

Parrikar stressed government was committed to welfare of the ex-servicemen and One Rank One Pension.

Parrikar said that since he took over the reins of Defence Ministry in November last year, it has been his constant endeavour to work towards the welfare and well-being of serving and ex-servicemen.

Various welfare measures pertaining to pension including broadbanding, ex-gratia compensation and OROP are receiving highest priority of the government, he said.

Considering the hardships and agony of long separations of jawans from their families when serving in forward and high altitude areas, he said the Ministry is working on the Married Accommodation Project to provide nearly 2.7 lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting.

"As I speak to you, my thoughts are with the near and dear ones of all those who laid down their lives for the protection of our nation. You are performing the task of protecting the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity as also defending the motherland from the destructive designs of anti-national forces," he said in his address.

He said that the whole nation was in full admiration of the daring operation against the insurgents which was undertaken very creditably along the Indo-Myanmar border.

"I compliment the Special Forces for undertaking this surgical strike smoothly and without any casualty on our side.

You have also successfully and effectively repulsed all ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border and attempts of terrorists to infiltrate into the country," he said.

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