Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday handed over the indigenous main battle tank Arjun Mk-1A to the Army in a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane received the model of the tank, designed and developed by Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), a unit of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
“A tank made in Tamil Nadu will be used in our northern borders to keep the nation safe. This showcases India’s united spirit — Bharat’s Ekta Darshan ,” Mr. Modi said.
“We will continue working to make our armed forces one of the most modern forces in the world. At the same time, the focus on making India aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) in the defence sector moves with full speed,” the Prime Minister said at the event attended by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and other dignitaries.
Mr. Modi was on a flying visit to Chennai where he inaugurated a slew of development projects across several sectors, before flying to Kerala.
He had a 15-minute conversation with Mr. Palaniswami at the venue, according to sources. The AIADMK is an ally of the BJP, and the BJP national president J.P. Nadda, during his visit to the State last month, announced that the alliance would continue.
Mr. Modi posed for photographs with the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, with the three of them raising their hands together in a show of solidarity.
The Prime Minister spoke at length of how India’s armed forces signified the country’s ethos of courage.
“They have shown, time and again, that they are fully capable of protecting our motherland. Time and again, they have shown India believes in peace. But, India will protect its sovereignty at all costs,” he said.
The PM also recalled the martyrs, who lost their lives in a terrorist attack in Pulwama two years ago.
”No Indian can forget this day. Two years ago, the Pulwama Attack happened. We pay homage to all the martyrs we lost in that attack. We are proud of our security forces. Their bravery will continue to inspire generations,” he said.
Quoting from Tamil poet Subramaniya Bharathi, Mr. Modi said India has undertaken a massive effort to become self-reliant in the defence sector.
“One of the two defence corridors is in Tamil Nadu. The corridor has already received investment commitments of over ₹8,100 crore. Today, I am proud to dedicate to the country one more warrior to protect our frontiers. I am proud to handover the indigenously designed and manufactured main battle tank Arjun Mk-1A. It also uses indigenous ammunition. Tamil Nadu is already the leading automobile manufacturing hub of India,” Mr. Modi said.
The state-of-the-art indigenous main battle tank has been indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE, DRDO along with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.
With modern battle tank technologies, it is distinct from the contemporary main battle tanks and is a dependable warfighting machine. The Arjun MBT Mk-1A is a weapon platform with superior firepower, high mobility, excellent protection and crew comfort with 14 major upgrades on Arjun MBT Mk-1, according to the CVRDE.
The indent for 118 of these tanks would be placed shortly with the Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) at Avadi near Chennai.