Zee Media Bureau
Srinagar: Making a strong pitch for self- reliance in defence production, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said this is needed to make the country completely secure from any threat and said he also has accorded highest priority to the modernisation of defence forces as strong security was necessary for an atmosphere of peace, amity and harmony in the country.
In his brief speech at the `Sanik Samelan` here, the Prime Minister spoke about encouraging defence production in the country and said it was important for securing the borders of the country, official sources said here.
Modi was quoted by sources as saying that his government will make every effort to keep the "jawan smiling".
If a jawan is smiling, he will be able to "serve our motherland in more better way", the sources quoted him as saying.
Modi, during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, had spoken about making the country self reliant in defence production and also enable it to export defence equipment to other nations.
"In Gujarat, we have made a small effort in this regard. In our engineering colleges we are working towards starting a subject related to defence manufacturing," he had said last year on the 15th anniversary of Pokhran nuclear tests.
Later, the Prime Minister let go his security and interacted with the soldiers. He was seen walking past everyone and greeting them with "Jai Hind".
Modi assured the jawans that their worries will be taken care by the government which will make all steps to make their lives much better.
Ahead of his speech, Army Chief-designate Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag welcomed the Prime Minister and spoke about various issues related to army jawans.
Strong army necessary for peace
Praising the valour and courage of the soldiers, the Prime Minister asserted that self-reliance in defence offset manufacturing was essential for the security of the nation.
Strong armed forces are necessary for an atmosphere of peace, amity, harmony and brotherhood in the country, and that is the foundation on which India would achieve new heights of development, Modi said.
He said today the world was looking at India with hope and we can interact on equal terms with all developed countries.
The spirit of sacrifice and selflessness of the defence forces was an inspiration for all Indians and this spirit would ensure their victory at all times, the Prime Minister said.
He said the people of India trusted them and believed that no power on earth could defeat them.
The Prime Minister reiterated his government`s commitment to building a National War Memorial in memory of soldiers who had laid down their lives for the motherland.
He said the welfare of the armymen and their families was the concern and collective responsibility of all Indians and his government would take all good decisions in the interest of the jawans.
Earlier, the Prime Minister paid homage at the martyrs` memorial at Badami Bagh cantonment.
Modi paid tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives while protecting the borders in Jammu and Kashmir and also wrote in the visitors` book at the memorial and visited the nearby 1,200-year-old Shiva Temple.
He laid a floral wreath at the War Memorial at the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the Army in Badamibagh Cantonment here.
Others present at the function were state Governor N N Vohra, state Chief Secretary M I Khanday, Director General of Police K Rajendra and top army officials.
With PTI Inputs