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Armed forces ready to face every challenge: Rajnath Singh after taking charge of defence ministry for second term

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh assumes charge, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The new government will focus on further bolstering national security by modernising the armed forces and significantly enhancing domestic defence production, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday after taking charge of office.

Outlining his vision for the next five years, Singh the government will work assiduously to increase the defence exports to Rs 50,000 crore by 2028-29 from current Rs 21,083 crore.

The armed forces are being equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and platforms and they are ready to face every challenge, he told reporters after assuming charge as the defence minister for the second consecutive term.

Singh also commended the military personnel for protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation with valour and commitment, in comments that came amid the lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

Reflecting growing salience of the Indian Ocean Region in India's defence calculus, Singh decided that he will undertake the first visit in his second term as defence minister to the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam to interact with the officers and sailors.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our aim will be to further strengthen the security apparatus of the country, with focus on achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing," he said.

"Armed forces modernisation and the welfare of the soldiers, both serving and retired, will continue to be our main focus," he said.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval called on Singh and is understood to have discussed issues relating to national security.

Singh was among the senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman who retained the ministries that they handled in the previous government.

He said the government will also focus on boosting India's defence production.

"Defence exports had touched a record Rs 21,083 crore in financial Year 2023-24. It was historic. Our target will be to export over Rs 50,000 crore worth of defence equipment by 2028-2029," he said.

With a view to enhance defence preparedness and continued thrust on 'Aatmanirbharta' (self-reliance) in defence, Singh said he will be conducting regular review meetings to fast-track implementation of flagship schemes and the initiatives.

Singh was welcomed at his office in South Block in Raisina Hills by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral Dinesh Tripathi, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and DRDO Chairman Samir V Kamat.

Immediately after assumption of charge, Singh chaired a meeting on the first 100 days' Action Plan of the ministry.

The meeting focused on the welfare of veterans, wherein major issues pertaining to the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare were discussed.

He instructed the officers to re-dedicate themselves to fulfill the agenda laid out in the Action Plan.

"I reassumed charge of the Ministry of Defence today. The MoD shall continue working towards self-reliance in Defence. Our Armed Forces have been doing commendable work in maintaining India's external security," Singh said on X.

"Under the inspiring leadership of PM Shri @narendramodi the MoD will further strengthen domestic defence manufacturing and boost exports to unprecedented highs," he said.

Separately, the defence ministry said under Singh's leadership, it will "march ahead with renewed vigour with the aim to realise the prime minister's vision of making the country 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047".

"The focus will be on attaining self-reliance in defence, further modernising the Armed Forces, innovation in cutting-edge technology, strengthening border infrastructure, and ensuring ex-servicemen welfare, among others," it said.


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