Saturday, July 5, 2014

Srinagar, July 4
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with soldiers at the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar on Friday. A Tribune Photograph
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said strong armed forces were a must for the prosperity of the country.
“If the country has to prosper, the citizens have to live in peace. The country has to have strong armed forces to keep the border secured,” said Modi while interacting with soldiers at the headquarters of the Army 15 Corps at Badami Bagh Cantonment during his maiden visit to the state.
“This (strong armed forces) will only happen when the forces are modernised and equipped with latest weapons. I am strongly in favour of modernisation of forces,” said Modi.
Attired in grey kurta pyjama with blue waistcoat and a military hat, the Prime Minister said, “Technology has advanced manifold and future wars may not just be fought on battlefields.”
“Budget required for the welfare of jawans and modernisation of equipment will be made available,” he added.
Modi laid stress on the need to produce defence equipment indigenously within the country.
“If we start producing modern weapon system, we can save a lot of money. In fact, we utilise most of the defence budget for importing weapons. If we start producing defence equipment, the money saved from this can be used for the welfare of the forces,” he said.
Modi said, “All developed countries want to have friendly relations with India on basis of equality.”
Praising the soldiers, the PM said they had the blessing of millions and millions of people of the country and that acts as a safety cover for them.
“You leave your families to work in tough conditions. A common man in the country can’t imagine the difficulty you face,” he said.
He said, “My government has three core areas to focus upon a soldier on border, man in fields and 65 per cent unemployed youth.”
Modi added that within a week of his tenure, he approved the establishment of a National War Memorial and National War Museum.
Earlier, Modi paid tributes to the martyrs and laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Badami Bagh Cantonment. He also met senior Army officers.
Vice-Chief of the Army and other senior Army officials, including General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command and Srinagar-based Corps Commanders and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval were present during the PM’s address to soldiers.
The Prime Minister addressed over 1,000 soldiers serving in high-altitude areas along the Line of Control and engaged in anti-militancy operations in the Kashmir valley.

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