The Defence Minister said planned jointness among the armed forces will play a pivotal role in bolstering the country's security

Assuring the nation that the armed forces of the country are fully equipped to deal with any challenge that endangers the safety, security, unity and integrity of the nation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said India is a peace-loving nation but fully capable of giving a befitting reply if challenged.

“We aim to develop a powerful and self-reliant Bharat which is peace-loving but fully capable of giving a befitting reply whenever challenged,” said the Defence Minister while launching a series of events, organised by the Armed Forces and various other organisations of the Ministry of Defence to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, being celebrated as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

He said planned jointness among the armed forces will play a pivotal role in bolstering the security infrastructure of the country.

The Defence Minister also threw light on the five pillars (Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75) envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he had kicked off the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations in March this year.

He stated that the five pillars will act as a guiding force for the country to move forward in the path of development.

Reiterating the government’s action plan to make India ‘AatmaNirbhar’, Rajnath Singh said no stone is being left unturned to make the country self-reliant in defence manufacturing.

He said the country’s dependency on imports has decreased considerably due to measures taken by the Government, including notifying two positive indigenisation lists to promote self-reliance and defence exports.

The Minister also made special mention of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier to be built in India, saying that it was a moment of immense pride for the entire nation when the aircraft carrier undertook its maiden sea voyage recently.

He lauded the armed forces and different organisations of the Ministry of Defence for providing continuous support to the civil administration in the fight against COVID-19.

The Defence Minister, highlighted the crucial role played by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in setting up COVID care hospitals across the country and developing anti-COVID drug ‘2-DG’.

He also commended the armed forces for providing logistic support to civil authorities to meet the oxygen requirement.

The Defence Minister also congratulated the Indian contingent for its excellent performance in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, especially Subedar Neeraj Chopra who bagged India’s only gold in javelin throw.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat remembered Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for their leadership role in India’s Independence movement.

Saying that the armed forces are ready to deal with any challenge, he stated that the efforts taken to increase jointness among the forces will enhance their capabilities.

Earlier in his welcome address, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar gave a brief overview of the various events launched on the occasion, saying that these are aimed at inculcating a sense of patriotism among the people on the 75th anniversary of Independence Day.