Jaisalmer, Dec 5: The Modi government showed that no one can take India's borders and jawans lightly after it took the "strong decision" to conduct cross-border strikes following attacks in Pulwama and Uri, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.
Speaking on the occasion of the 57th Raising Day of the Border Security Force (BSF) here, Shah said for the Modi government, "border security is equal to national security".
"This government under the leadership of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has accorded a different importance to border security since 2014.
If our borders were breached or security personnel were attacked anywhere, we responded immediately. We showed that no one can take our borders and jawans lightly," Shah said at the Shaheed Poonam Singh Stadium here.
The BSF was raised on December 1, 1965, and is for the first time holding its Raising Day celebrations outside Delhi and in this strategic desert town along the Pakistan border.
After taking salute of the parade, Shah said the Modi government took the "strong decision" to conduct air and surgical strikes post the Pulwama (2019) and Uri attacks (2016) on Indian troops.
"Our action was lauded by the world," he said.
The minister said he believes that any country can progress and prosper only when its borders are protected and the BSF and other security forces are doing an "exemplary job" in this domain.
Talking about the recent emergence of the threat from drones on the country's borders, Shah said it is the government's "commitment to provide the best global technology for the protection of troops and the security of borders".
"We are working in this direction... BSF, NSG and DRDO are jointly working to develop indigenous counter-drone technology and that should be brought out soon," he said.
Shah said developing good border infrastructure is inherently linked to border security and his government has made it a point to create these assets with a firm commitment.
The road construction budget between 2008 and 2014 was about 23,700 crore. It was enhanced to Rs 44,600 crore between 2014 and 2020 under the Modi government, he said.
A total of 14,450 km of border roads were constructed between 2007 and 2020 along with 7,270 km of bridges, he added.
Shah said the land acquisition process for "critical border projects" is also being undertaken by his ministry.
He asked the BSF jawans to maintain a strict vigil on the border. He also asked them if the benefits of government welfare schemes are reaching the remote border locations.
"When you keep the border population happy, enhance their facilities, it will help you in effectively guarding the borders," he said.
If the borders are safe, the border areas will also be secure, Shah said.
He said the government recently recruited about 50,000 new troops to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the BSF and plans to recruit more in the future.
Shah said the government is "very sensitive" to the needs of CAPF personnel and hence has recently brought out the 'Ayushman CAPF' healthcare scheme under which troops and their families can avail hassle-free treatment at 21,000 hospitals by just swiping a special card provided to them.
He underlined that the government is working to enhance the housing satisfaction ratio for CAPF personnel before 2025.
BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh shared the operational achievements of the force during the event.