Tamil Nadu

Narendra Modi blasts his predecessors’ defence policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the inauguration of Defence Expo 2018 at Thiruvidanthai in Kancheepuram on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at previous governments for being lax in procurement of defence equipment and said such “laziness” had caused damage to the nation.

“There was a time when, like many other aspects of governance, the critical issue of defence preparedness was also hampered by policy paralysis. We have seen the damage such laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives, can cause to the nation,” Mr. Modi said, inaugurating the Defence Expo 2018.

The Prime Minister arrived at the venue near Mamallapuram by helicopter amidst black balloon (with the words ‘Go Back Modi’ printed on them) and black flag protests by the DMK-led Opposition and fringe parties at the Chennai airport. The protesters recorded their anguish against him for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board.

The Prime Minister said these issues should have been addressed long back, but were being resolved by his government now.

Bulletproof jackets

“You would have seen how the issue of providing bulletproof jackets to Indian Army soldiers was kept hanging for years. And, you would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India,” he said.

Without naming the UPA and the Congress, the Prime Minister criticised the earlier process for the purchase of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) fighter aircraft, terming it “long-drawn process that never reached any conclusion.”

He said his government had taken “bold action to meet our immediate requirements,” and referred to the process that had been initiated now to procure 110 fighter aircraft for which tenders had been floated recently. “We do not want to spend 10 years in discussions without any tangible outcomes,” he said.

“We will work with you [defence manufacturers] with a sense of mission to keep our defence forces equipped with state-of-the-art systems, and to create the necessary domestic manufacturing ecosystem to achieve this,” Mr. Modi added.

IDEX scheme

The Prime Minister also launched the ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme for setting up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country, to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the start-ups in defence area.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the defence offset policy was being relaxed.

After the inaugural, the Prime Minister visited the stalls set up by various DPSUs at the venue. Mr. Modi also witnessed an impressive live demonstration of the military might of the armed forces.

A canopy of paratroopers descended from the skies enthralling the audience gathered at the venue overseeing the Bay of Bengal. Chennai turned out to the best choice for DefExpo as all forces, including the Navy, were able to showcase their fire power and assets.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 11:25:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/will-take-necessary-steps-to-equip-armed-forces-modi-at-defence-expo/article23510387.ece

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