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Rajnath Singh reviews military preparedness of Andaman and Nicobar Command

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New Delhi (PTI):  India's aim is to make its military one of the strongest in the world, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said after reviewing the operational preparedness of the country's only integrated military command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The defence minister also took stock of the infrastructure development at strategic areas of the archipelago during his visit to the headquarters of the command in Port Blair.

The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has been playing a key role in keeping a strict vigil in the Indian Ocean in the wake of China's growing forays into the region.

Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) Lt General Ajai Singh briefed the defence minister about the geo-strategic potential of the archipelago and the role the islands can play towards enhancing India's influence and support to military operations in the area.

Lauding the command for strengthening national security and keeping the maritime domain safe, Rajnath Singh on Thursday said, "Our aim is to make the Indian Armed Forces one of the strongest military in the world."

He also made special mention of the bravery and promptness with which the armed forces dealt with the recent situations in the northern sector, according to the defence ministry.

Singh exuded confidence that the courage and dedication of the armed forces will create a "golden future" for the country and assured the soldiers that the way they are always ready for the security of the country, the government too is always ready for their welfare.

"Under the guidance of our prime minister, we have taken a firm step forward towards self-reliance. We have made giant strides towards realising the 'Make in India, Make for the World' vision," the defence minister said.

"Our Armed Forces will soon be among the strongest militaries of the world. This is our vision as well as our mission," he said.

The ministry said the CINCAN briefed the minister about the achievements, future plan and challenges of the command and highlighted the significant role played by it in carrying forward the government's Act East Policy and in realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

Singh also visited the ANC Joint Operations Centre (JOC) which is the nerve centre for integrated planning for surveillance, the conduct of operations and logistic support.

Interacting with officers and jawans, the defence minister commended the Andaman and Nicobar Command for strengthening national security and keeping the maritime domain safe and secure.

He specifically lauded their bravery and enthusiasm for being alert and ready round the clock for the security of the islands and the Exclusive Economic Zone, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Singh added that since its inception in 2001, the Andaman and Nicobar Command has significantly enhanced its operational capabilities, which reflects its indomitable spirit and commitment.

Earlier, he reviewed a guard of honour and visited Sankalp Smarak, the location of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's historic arrival on December 29, 1943. At the Sankalp Smarak, he paid homage to honour the sacrifices of soldiers of the Indian National Army.

On his arrival in Port Blair, he was received by Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral DK Joshi (Retd), CINCAN and senior government officials.

It was the first visit of the defence minister to Indira Point since January 2019.

"Apart from the strategic signalling in view of the proximity of these far-flung islands to the Indo-Pacific, the visit of the defence minister to ANC motivated the troops deployed in these distant and remote islands," the defence ministry said.

"It is pertinent to mention that ANC is a 21-year-old successful Integrated Theatre Command which is now being planned at the national level," it added.

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