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    Modi govt determined to strengthen India’s military preparedness: Prez Kovind

    India’s border tensions with China figured in the speech by President Ram Nath Kovind on the opening day of the Budget session of parliament with the president stating that the Modi government was vigilant and committed to safeguarding the interests of the country.

    In keeping with the role envisaged for India as a prominent voice in the world, Kovind also said that the Modi government was determined to strengthen India’s military preparedness.

    “During the coronavirus pandemic, when the country was grappling with crisis, attempts were made to challenge the country’s capability at the border,” Kovind said.

    “Efforts were made to disrupt the peace at LAC in utter disregard of bilateral relations and agreements. However, our security forces not only responded to these machinations with promptitude, force and courage but also foiled all attempts to change the status quo at the border,” Kovind said.

    Paying tribute to the 20 Indian soldiers who were killed during a clash with Chinese on the border, Kovind said India was “deeply indebted” to the courage they displayed.

    “My Government is vigilant and fully committed to safeguarding the interests of the country. Additional forces have also been deployed at the Line of Actual Control) to protect the sovereignty of India,” he said.

    The references were to the frayed ties between India and China after New Delhi discovered intrusions into Indian territory by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in May 2020. India quickly moved reinforcements to the border to match a Chinese deployment of an estimated 40,000-50,000 troops along the LAC. Though the two sides agreed to a scaling back of troops, a violent clash between the two sides on 15 June at Galwan dealt a major blow to ties. Twenty Indian troops and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, the first leading to casualties since 1975. Many rounds of talks since the Galwan clash at the military and diplomatic levels have not yielded any results.

    In his speech, Kovind also referred to a larger role, he said India was set to play in the future for which the government was “intent on strengthening our military preparedness.”

    “A range of modern armaments are being procured to enhance the capabilities of India’s armed forces. There is also a thrust on achieving self-reliance in the defence sector. Only a few days back, the Government has placed an order with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) for the procurement of 83 indigenous fighter aircraft ‘Tejas’ worth 48,000 crores,” he said.

    The reference was the Light Combat Aircraft that India is looking at to build up its depleted squadron strength. As against an approved strength of 42, India now has only 30 squadrons of fighter aircraft mainly composed of Russian made Sukhoi-30 fighters.

    Last year, India got the first few of 36 states of the art multi-role Rafale aircraft built by France’s Dassault Aviation. India is basing the first Rafale squadron at Ambala in Punjab and the second at Hashimara in West Bengal. Armed with the beyond visual range air to air Meteor missile, the Rafale has been described as “a gamechanger” for the Indian Air Force.

    India will also be shortly inducting the S-400 Triumf air defence system. The system, manufactured in Russia, can engage all types of aerial targets, including aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles besides ballistic and cruise missiles within a range of 400 kilometres and up to an altitude of 30 kilometres.

    In his speech, Kovind also outlined the steps taken by the Modi government to boost domestic production of defence hardware – a key priority of the Modi government.

    “Imports of more than 100 items linked to defence have been prohibited in order to promote ‘Make in India’. Similarly, several advanced weapons including supersonic torpedoes, quick reaction missiles, tanks and indigenous rifles are being manufactured in India. India is now also rapidly increasing its share in the exports of defence equipment,” the president said.

    ELE Times Research Desk
    ELE Times Research Desk
    ELE Times provides extensive global coverage of Electronics, Technology and the Market. In addition to providing in-depth articles, ELE Times attracts the industry’s largest, qualified and highly engaged audiences, who appreciate our timely, relevant content and popular formats. ELE Times helps you build experience, drive traffic, communicate your contributions to the right audience, generate leads and market your products favourably.

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