India will hit back with ‘double the force’ if its sovereignty is challenged: PM Narendra Modi

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India never eyes anyone else’s territory but will hit back with “double the force” if its sovereignty is ever challenged, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of proclamation of the Azad Hind government by Subhas Chandra Bose.

He also said his government is working towards providing the armed fores with better technology and latest weapons even as efforts are underway to make the lives of soldiers easier by giving them better facilities.

“We are heading towards building an army which was once envisioned by Netaji (Bose),” PM said.

Modi said his government took decisions such as carrying out surgical strikes across the Line of Control and providing benefits of ‘one rank, one pension’ to ex-servicemen.

The prime minister hoisted the national flag at the historic Red Fort to mark the event.

Donning the cap of the Indian National Army presented to him by one of the close aides of Bose, Modi said it has been the Indian tradition not to eye someone else’s territory, “but when our sovereignty is challenged, we will hit back with double the force”.

The prime minister said India will continue to use its military might “only for self defence”.

He also cautioned people against forces inside and outside India which are working against the country by targeting its independence, unity and constitution.

“It is the duty of every Indian to fight and defeat such forces,” he said, adding that a feeling of nationalism and “Indianness” is must to counter such designs.

Referring to the opposition faced by Bose when he decided to establish the Rani Jhansi Regiment — an all women unit of the INA, Modi said the regiment would complete 75 years of its establishment on Monday.

He said the present government is trying to fulfil the dreams of Bose even as he recalled the decision to allow women in the Army to opt for permanent commission from short service commission following a transparent procedure.

The prime minister said the air force is set to have the first batch of women fighter pilots.

“Today, India has Nirmala Sitharaman as its first woman defence minster,” he pointed out.

He said arrears worth Rs 11,000 crore have been released for ex-servicemen under the ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) scheme. OROP, coupled by recommendations of the seventh pay commission, has given “double bonanza” to former servicemen, he said.

Modi also said the work on the National War Memorial is in its last stages.





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