Gen Rawat had stressed on self-reliance in defence: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Gen Rawat had stressed on self-reliance in defence: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath SIngh paying tributes to Tamil Nadu crash victims, which included CDS Bipin Rawat. [File]Twitter/ @rajnathsingh

New Delhi: Modernisation of Armed Forces and total self-reliance in the defence sector were subjects close to India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Bipin Rawat's heart, said Defence Minister Rajanth Singh, pointing out "it is everyone's responsibility now to work tirelessly to achieve the objective even sooner".

In his address on Monday while virtually inaugurating nation-wide events of the Department of Defence Production (DDP), Singh also paid rich tributes to CDS Gen Rawat and other Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 8, and extended his condolences to the family members.

Sharing his insights on what freedom means to a nation, Singh said, freedom is not just a thing to be attained or earned, it is also a thing to maintain, for which one has to strive continuously.

"Freedom is not a goal, but a path. To a sovereign nation, freedom means the ability and capacity to take any decision related to defence and socio-economic development. In any situation, we can take a decision only when we are completely self-reliant," he stressed.

Singh was of the view that while India attained freedom in the fields such as agriculture, education and health post-Independence, not much attention was paid towards the defence sector.

He said, before the government came to power in 2014, the defence sector lagged behind due to lack of investment, innovation and research and development. This led to dependency on imports to meet the defence requirements of the country and affected the strategic autonomy, he added.

Singh pointed out that the current government understood the importance of self-reliance in defence and has been making constant efforts to achieve 'Aatmanirbharta' in the sector. "The defence sector has entered into a new era due to the policies, vision and mindset of this government," he added.

Saying that this government does not shy away from taking bold decisions in the interest of the nation, Singh listed out a number of policy reforms aimed at promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

He made special mention of the corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), saying that the move will make OFB more effective and efficient and unleash its true potential.

Greater Kashmir
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