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Rajnath performs 'Shastra Puja' in Tawang; lauds troops for guarding border with unwavering commitment

Guwahati: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accompanied by Army Chief General Manoj Pande and a few other senior army officers performed shastra puja (worship of defence equipment) at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, as part of Dussehra celebrations on Tuesday.

Singh also visited the forward posts and interacted with the troops deployed in the frontline locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for a first hand assessment of the situation on the ground, said a statement issued by the ministry of defence.

“Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja with the troops at Tawang, where he reiterated that Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil. In his address, he described the righteousness and dharma of the brave Armed Forces personnel as the living testament to the ethos of the festival of Vijayadashmi,” said the statement.

Singh said that the valour and commitment of the armed forces is one of the main reasons that India’s stature has grown on the international stage and it is now among the most powerful nations.

Singh’s visit to the forward posts is significant as China has repeatedly claimed the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh as part of its South Tibet region. India, however, has rejected the claims and asserted that the security forces are ready to defend the Northeastern state. In December 2022, Indian troops clashed with the Chinese army men when they allegedly intruded into Tawang.

Talking about the current global scenario, Singh said that there is no option but to bolster the country’s security apparatus. He underlined that all efforts are being made by the government to strengthen the nation’s military prowess through indigenous production of defence equipment.

“Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, giant strides have been made towards ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence. Earlier, we used to rely on imports to upgrade our military. But today, a number of major weapons and platforms are being manufactured within the country. Foreign companies are being encouraged to share their technology and produce the equipment in India with domestic industry. In 2014, the value of defence exports was about Rs 1,000 crore, but today we are exporting defence equipment worth thousands of crores,” said the statement, quoting the defence Minister.

The defence minister visited the Tawang War Memorial, where he laid a wreath and offered tributes to the bravehearts who made the supreme sacrifice during the 1962 India-China war. He was accompanied by Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Eastern Command Lt Gen RP Kalita, GOC, 4 Corps Lt Gen Manish Erry and other senior officers of the Indian Army.

Singh also visited the 4 Corps headquarters at Tezpur in Assam. During the visit, he reviewed the operational readiness of the formation, which is deployed in one of the easternmost parts of the country. He was briefed on the infrastructure development along the LAC and the employment of cutting-edge military equipment and technology to enhance the operational efficiency of the troops deployed in the frontline.

(Published 24 October 2023, 07:46 IST)

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