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Safeguarding India's border will remain topmost priority: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting with MoS Defence Sanjay Seth, in New Delhi, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Safeguarding India's border will remain the topmost priority and efforts will continue to take defence manufacturing and exports to greater heights, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday shortly after he was retained to helm the key responsibility in the new government.

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

"I express my heartfelt gratitude to PM Shri @narendramodi for his continued trust and confidence in me. I shall continue to serve our motherland as India's Defence Minister," Singh said on 'X'.

"Safeguarding India's border will remain our topmost priority and we shall continue protecting India's integrity & sovereignty. Under the visionary leadership of PM Modi we shall rededicate ourselves to strengthen 'Make in India' and take defence manufacturing & exports to greater heights," he said.

Singh's assertion comes amid an over four-year border row with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

As the defence minister since 2019, Singh initiated several path-breaking measures to strengthen India's combat readiness along the border with China as well as to boost the country's defence manufacturing.

Under his leadership, the defence ministry pursued an aggressive policy to enhance infrastructure along the frontier region that significantly helped faster military mobilisation in sensitive sectors.

His tenure as the defence minister also saw India ramping up its maritime prowess in the strategic waterways in the Indian Ocean region.

Singh was elected for the third consecutive time from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency in the recent general election.

The new government is expected to also focus on further bolstering the country's military preparedness and enhancing key infrastructure in areas along the country's borders.

India's defence exports crossed the Rs 21,000 crore mark for the first time in 2023-24 and the defence ministry has set a target of increasing it to Rs 50,000 crore in the next five-six years.

In the last few years, the government has taken a series of measures to promote domestic defence production.

India is one of the largest importers of arms globally.

According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement by 2029.

The government now wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms and has decided to support domestic defence manufacturing.

The defence ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years.

Sanjay Seth, a member of Parliament from Ranchi, has been given the portfolio of Minister of State in the defence ministry.

Seth became an MP from Ranchi for the first time in 2019 and he was a member of the Standing Committee on Information Technology.

In the recent Lok Sabha polls, he was again elected from Ranchi.


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