Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party, saying national security and defence sector were either a punching bag or a funding source for it.
PM Modi's attack on the opposition party came even as the Congress accused the government of "misleading" the Supreme court by presenting wrong information about the CAG report on the Rafale deal and demanded that the government apologise for it.
The Congress has also said the Supreme Court, which gave the government relief in the Rafale jet case, has not gone into the pricing and technical aspects of the aircraft and it is only a joint parliamentary committee that can probe whether there was any irregularity in the deal.
Targeting the main opposition party in an interaction with BJP workers from Tamil Nadu through video conference from New Delhi, PM Modi alleged that the (Congress) leaders call the army chief names and mock at the (2016) surgical strike on the one hand.
"On the other hand, they have looted the defence sector from the jeep scam back in the 1940s and 50s to Bofors in the 80s, the AgustaWestland and submarine scam, among many others," he said. "All they see is the way to make money even if it means the morale of our forces is diminished. Sadly, for the Congress, national security and the defence sector are either a punching bag or a funding source," he said.
PM Modi said the country was proud of the forces and have faith in them and the government has ensured operational freedom for them to deal with "those who are our harming the country."
"The surgical strikes show how capable our forces are to give a strong answer to those who attack us," he said.
During an election campaign in Rajasthan recently, PM Modi had slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for "raising doubts" over the cross-border surgical strike carried out by the Army in September 2016. The PM on Saturday also said it was the BJP-led NDA government that fulfilled the long-pending demand for One Rank One Pension for armed forces and veterans that was lying unattended for 40 years.
Apparently referring to the previous UPA government, PM Modi alleged that after much persuasion, it left a mere Rs 500 crore aside for the OROP "which was nothing short of a cruel joke." "When we got the opportunity to implement the OROP, we did it with full sincerity," he said.
As part of his nation-wide dialogue with BJP workers in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi said "ours is a government that values your safety and well-being above everything. We will do everything possible to protect India and the 130 crore Indians." "We are a peace-loving nation but will not hesitate to give a fitting reply to anti-social elements who harm our people and disturb our development," he said.
The prime minister said when it comes to national security, the morale of the forces was important. "Among the first things that the government did after coming to power was that we have conveyed to the soldiers that we value them. The soldier who is standing at the border knows that the country is standing behind him," he said.
The Maoist terror, which had once affected many districts, was on the decline and there has been a major crackdown against Maoists and their sympathisers, PM Modi said. "Forty-four districts, which were earlier affected by Left-wing terrorism, show zero incidences of violence in the last four years," he said.
"It has happened because, on the one hand, there has been sustained campaign by the security forces to fight back, while on the other, the government is making efforts to develop these regions," PM Modi said.
"In Kashmir, while we have reached out to the people in full measure, the army has struck a heavy blow to terror and eliminated terrorists in record numbers," he pointed out. Recently, panchayat polls were held peacefully which show great participation (of people), he said.
"Striking terrorists where it hurts them the most has become a new normal in India's anti-terror policy," he said. As part of enhancing the country's security, PM Modi said, India's pride, nuclear submarine INS Arihant successfully completed its first deterrence patrol on November 5.
"The success of INS Arihant enhances India's security needs and it is a major achievement for our entire nation and with INS Arihant, India's nuclear triad is complete," the prime minister said. "True to its name, INS Arihant will protect Indians from external threats and contribute to the atmosphere of peace in the region..Will ensure peace," he added.