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Will focus on strengthening national security, military modernisation: Rajnath Singh

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a 100-day plan meeting with the Minister of State Sanjay Seth, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other officials after assuming charge of the office, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The new Narendra Modi government will focus on further strengthening national security by modernising the armed forces and boosting domestic defence manufacturing, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday after taking charge of the office.

Outlining his vision for the next five years, Singh said the government will work assiduously to increase defence exports to Rs 50,000 crore by 2028-29 from the current Rs 21,083 crore.

The armed forces are being equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and platforms and they are ready to face every challenge, he told reporters after taking charge as defence minister for the second consecutive term.

Singh also commended the military personnel for protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation with valour and commitment, in comments that came amid the lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we aim to further strengthen the security apparatus of the country, with a focus on achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing," he said.

"Armed forces modernisation and the welfare of the soldiers, both serving and retired, will continue to be our main focus," Singh told reporters.

Singh was among the senior BJP leaders, including Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman, who retained the ministries they handled in the previous government.

The defence minister said the government will also focus on boosting India's defence production.

"Defence exports touched a record Rs 21,083 crore in Financial Year 2023-24. It was historic. Our target will be to export over Rs 50,000 crore worth of defence equipment by 2028-2029," he said.

Singh was welcomed at his office in South Block in Raisina Hills by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral Dinesh Tripathi, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and DRDO Chairman Samir V Kamat.

Immediately after assumption of charge, Singh chaired a meeting on the first 100 days' action plan of the ministry. The meeting focused on the welfare of veterans, wherein major issues pertaining to the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare were discussed.

He instructed the officers to re-dedicate themselves to fulfil the agenda laid out in the action plan.


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