Sunday, August 14, 2011

MoD Curtain Raiser On Independence Day Celebration

Following is the English rendering of the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony’s customary address to the Armed Forces personnel broadcast over All India Radio on the eve of Independence Day:-

“Tomorrow, we will be celebrating our 65th Independence Day. I extend my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to all the members of our Armed Forces – uniformed and civilian. On this occasion, I pay my tributes to all the martyrs who gave the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

Our Armed Forces guard our land, sea and air borders. They perform their duties living away from their families, braving inclement weather and other challenges.


I have visited the frontiers in the North-East, Jammu & Kashmir, seen the preparation in the desert and other areas. On these visits, I have come to know about the challenges that troops have to face. Keeping such challenges in mind, the Government has taken several steps to improve the facilities. An improvement in the quantity and the quality of rations, clothing and equipment has been brought about. Till now, our JCO brethren used to be given fruits three days in a week. We have now issued instructions to ensure that the quantity and quality of fruits being given to officers and Jawans is now the same. The Government is committed to the all-round welfare of our jawans and will continue to provide them the best facilities and living conditions, especially for those living in inhospitable and difficult conditions.


Along with this, we have issued instructions to accelerate work on Married Accommodation Project. Looking at the high altitudes where deployment is required, insulated shelters are being constructed at some places.


Our Government wants all-round development of the defence forces and Jawans. But we need help and cooperation from all of you. Recently, a few corruption related cases have come to light. This has created a poor image and a somewhat negative impact on the image of our Armed Forces in the public eye. Today, I want to say to all of you that it is the responsibility of each one of you to do your work with complete devotion, fairness, honesty and truthfulness. All of you have to keep the trust placed by the people of the nation in our Armed Forces.


We have taken several steps for the welfare of our ex-servicemen. 199 new polyclinics and 15 new regional health centres have been started to provide better health care facilities to ex-servicemen. Besides, a pilot online automation scheme has been started to address pension related problems.


Whereas on the one hand, bravery is required to deal with terrorists, at the same time, our Armed Forces must perform their duties with utmost caution. Armed Forces personnel must take special care of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and North-east and other places.


The modernization of our Armed Forces has always been on the top of our priority. We will continue to provide our Armed Forces with the latest and the most modern weapon systems and equipment to help them discharge their duties and rank among the best fighting forces in the world.


We have taken some steps to increase the capacity of our Armed Forces. A new Officers Training Academy (O.T.A) has been set up at Gaya. Similarly, an Indian Coast Guard Academy has been set up at Azzhikkal in Kerala. We hope that in the years to come, this will lead to some increase in the number of officers in the Armed Forces.


Ex-servicemen constitute an important component of our Armed Forces. Recently, I have appealed to all the states to provide more employment opportunities to ex-servicemen at all levels.


Our Armed Forces provide assistance not only within the country, but also to other countries. In recent years, relief material was sent to Sri Lanka and to Kyrgyzstan. Our Armed Forces received widespread praise for these efforts.


The Armed Forces personnel have also performed admirably in the sporting arena. Our defence forces did the nation proud at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. We awarded Rs. 12 lakh to every gold medal winner, Rs. 7 lakh to silver medal winner and Rs. 5 lakh to bronze medal winner.


Similarly, by unfurling the national flag atop Mt. Everest, three women of our Armed Forces proved that they are in no way inferior to men in any manner. We will try our best to open up more and more avenues for women in Armed Forces to provide them more opportunities.


In the end, I once again congratulate all of you on the 65th Independence Day. I am confident that our Armed Forces will leave nothing to chance in defending our land, air and sea borders. Your vigil on the borders and commitment to the nation will enhance the prestige of the Forces and do the nation proud.”


The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today reminded the Armed Forces personnel that it was the responsibility of each one of them to perform their tasks “with complete devotion, fairness, honesty and truthfulness”. In his customary broadcast over All India Radio on the eve of the 65th Independence Day, Shri Antony said all of them have to “uphold the trust placed by the Nation in our Armed Forces”. He said a few cases of corruption in the Armed Forces have come to light recently and this has created “a somewhat negative impact on the image of our Armed Forces in the public eye”.


Assuring that the modernization of our Armed Forces was a top priority for the government, the Defence Minister said the most modern weapon systems and equipment would be made available to them. Shri Antony, however, cautioned them to exercise the restraint of the powerful and respect human rights.

Whereas on the one hand, bravery is required to deal with terrorists, at the same time, our Armed Forces must perform their duties with utmost caution. Armed Forces personnel must take special care of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and North-east and other places.”

The Defence Minister assured that the government wants all-round development of defence forces and the jawans.

An improvement in the quantity and the quality of rations, clothing and equipment has been brought about. Till now, our JCO brethren used to be given fruits three days in a week. We have now issued instructions to ensure that the quantity and quality of fruits being given to officers and Jawans is now the same.”

Pointing out that he has realized the hardships and challenges that the troops face during his visits to the forward post in J&K, North East, Rajasthan and Gujarat, Shri Antony said that the DRDO has designed insulated shelters that would provide medical aid and help save lives. “Along with this, we have issued instructions to accelerate work on the Married Accommodation Project”, Shri Antony said.

Lauding the role of ex-servicemen and underlining their welfare was a priority for the government, the Defence Minister said their pension related problems are being addressed and amenities are being expanded. We have taken several steps for the welfare of our ex-servicemen. 199 new polyclinics and 15 new regional health centres have been started to provide better health care facilities to ex-servicemen. Besides, a pilot online automation scheme has been started to address pension related problems”, Shri Antony said. “Ex-servicemen constitute an important component of our Armed Forces. Recently, I have appealed to all the states to provide more employment opportunities to ex-servicemen at all levels”, he added.

Commending the Armed Forces personnel for their exemplary performance in the Commonwealth Games and lauding the three women of the Indian Air Force who scaled Mt Everest recently, Shri Antony said that, “We will try our best to open up more and more avenues for women in Armed Forces to provide them more opportunities”.

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