India needs strong defence capability, says President



Chandigarh: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that an effective deterrence and a strong defence capability were essential for the country to ensure peace.

Addressing a gathering after presenting colours to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME) and the Chandigarh-based 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here Friday, Mukherjee said India needed to be prepared to face any aggression and safeguard itself with all its might.

Praising the role of the Indian Air Force (IAF), he said the force had always risen admirably in defence of the nation.

"As our country moves ahead on the path of economic progress, it is essential to preserve peace for which we need to maintain an effective deterrence and a strong defence capability," he said.

"As a nation, we are fully committed to maintaining peace and we are steadfast in our belief that the resolution of disputes should be through discussion.

"But at the same time, we would need to be prepared to face any aggression and safeguard our territorial integrity with all our might, and the IAF has a critical role to play in this effort.

"They have in the past risen admirably in defence of our nation with valour, courage, devotion and fearlessness," Mukherjee said.

Earlier, the President, here on a day-long visit, presented colours to AFCME and the 3 BRD at a ceremony here.

The AFCME is a premier medical establishment of the IAF. The unit was established by the Royal Air Force as the Central Medical Board at Lahore in 1940.

It deals with the standardised procedures for selection and subsequent medical assessment of aircrew.

The 3 Base Repair Depot, which completed 50 years of service last year, was set up in 1962. It is the IAF's major repair and maintenance support unit.

IANS