SGT Times Reporter
Jhansi, November 18
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the three-day ‘Rashtra Raksha Samarpan Parv’ in Jhansi on November 17, 2021. The festival will culminate on the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi Laxmi Bai on 19th November. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate/launch several new initiatives of Ministry of Defence to the Nation in a grand ceremony being organised in the precincts of Jhansi Fort on November 19, 2021.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Rajnath Singh termed the festival as a shining example of the coordination and determination of the Centre and state government. He paid rich tributes to all the bravehearts who sacrificed their lives to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the Nation and said that the event will witness the glimpses of struggle, sacrifice and victory. He also remembered Rani Lakshmi Bai, terming her as the epitome of bravery and courage and said that the government has taken major steps to empower women in all spheres including representation in the armed forces.
As the country is celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate 75 years of Independence, the Raksha Mantri recalled the country’s journey after 1947, saying that there has been a paradigm shift in the meaning of Independence since then. “Earlier, Independence meant freedom from foreign rule. It later changed to fulfilling one’s needs with the help of the world. Today’s it is being ‘Aatmanirbhar’ in the development journey. Due to our Government’s efforts, we have moved on the path of self-reliance,” he said. He linked the government’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas of Poorna Swaraj and Swadeshi. Rajnath Singh listed India’s achievements in different sectors saying that the country has risen to new heights. He made special mention of the Government’s achievement of administering over 110 crore vaccines in the fight against COVID-19, terming it as a remarkable feat.
The Raksha Mantri listed out a number of initiatives undertaken to strengthen the defence sector and ensure strategic independence. He stated that the bolstering the national security apparatus is of paramount importance to the Government. “Our country is facing many types of conventional & non-conventional challenges – from border threats to sub-conventional threats like terror and extremism. There is a need to create a strong, modern & well-equipped military, along with an equally capable, vibrant and self-reliant defence industry, which can provide low-cost yet top-quality equipment to our forces in a time-bound manner,” he said.
Underscoring the importance of self-reliance in defence manufacturing, Rajnath Singh said, India cannot fulfill its strategic and security needs by relying on other countries and the Government is constantly striving to achieve ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He elaborated on the structural and organisational reforms in the defence sector, including corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board; setting up of defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; increase in Foreign Direct Investment; draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020. He expressed confidence that these steps will not only increase the country’s strength, but also provide a roadmap to the Indian defence manufacturing for the future. The Government’s efforts have started to bear fruit, the Raksha Mantri said, mentioning Rs 50,000 crore order from the Armed Forces to Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). He termed it a historic deal which will take the Indian Aerospace sector to greater heights.
Shedding light on other visible results, Rajnath Singh said, in the last seven years, the defence exports have crossed Rs 38,000 crore mark. Joining of more than 10,000 SMEs in the defence sector and increase in research & development, start-up, innovation and employment in the defence sector are a result of the policies rolled out by the Government, he added. The Raksha Mantri reiterated the Government’s resolve of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’, expressing confidence of soon realising the Prime Minister’s vision.
Rajnath Singh also lauded the efforts of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in establishing an environment of security and law and order in the state. He commended the Uttar Pradesh government for the welfare of all and highlighted the industrial development and growth of MSMEs of the state that has led to wealth creation and employment generation. He said that the UP has promoted local industries through initiatives like ‘One district, one product’, which, he said, is a role-model for the rest of the country. He ended his address by praising the state government for its infrastructure development initiatives like constructing highways, expressways, airports and Metro-rail and implementation of UP Defence Industrial Corridor and efficient handling the COVID-19 situation.
In his address, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath thanked the Raksha Mantri and Ministry of Defence officials for organising ‘Raksha Samarpan Parv’. He said the event will instil patriotism and a sense of duty towards the Nation. The Chief Minister added that working for the defence of our country will enable us to secure our present and our future. He paid homage to the bravery and valour of Rani Laxmi Bai and her leadership in the first war of independence, remembering her words, “I will not give my Jhansi.”
The Chief Minister also informed about the progress on the Bundelkhand expressway and several initiatives taken by the government for welfare of people in the region, including the Jal Jeevan Mission. The Chief Minister ended his address by saluting the spirit of sacrifice and love for the nation embodied in the actions of Rani Laxmi Bai and all those who laid down their lives for the country.
Delivering the welcome address, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar mentioned about the several initiatives and reforms of the Ministry of Defence that have strengthened the Armed Forces. He said the spirit of ‘Rashtra Raksha Samarpan Parv’ was indicative of the valour of Jhansi. The Defence Secretary applauded the progress of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor. He announced that the foundation stone laying of the first project of the Jhansi Node of the Industrial Corridor will be done on November 19, 2021 by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The inauguration ceremony began with a lamp lighting ceremony by the Raksha Mantri and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. Union Minister of State, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Cabinet Minister Ram Naresh Agnihotri, Minister of State in the Uttar Pradesh Government Manohar Pant, Member of Parliament from Jhansi Anurag Sharma, public representatives and officials from the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence and state government were also present on the occasion.