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 on Sunday at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of proclamation of the Azad Hind government by Subhas Chandra Bose.
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Azad Hind government headed by Subhas Chandra Bose, at Red Fort. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
He also said his government is working towards providing the armed forces with better technology and latest weapons even as efforts are underway to make the lives of soldiers easier by extending them with better facilities.
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.
IMAGE: Modi hoists the Indian tricolour to mark the 75th anniversary of the Azad Hind government. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
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.”
He also cautioned people against forces inside and outside India which are working against the country by targeting it and its constitutional values.
He said a feeling of nationalism and “Indianness” is must to counter such designs.
IMAGE: Modi salutes the flag at the event. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
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 fulfill 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.
IMAGE: Modi with INA Veteran Lalti Ram during a flag hoisting ceremony. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
The prime minister said the air force is set to have the first batch of women fighter pilots.
He said arrears worth Rs 11,000 crore have been released for ex-servicemen under the ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme. OROP, coupled by recommendations of the seventh pay commission, have given “double bonanza” to former servicemen, he said.
Modi also said the work on the National War Memorial is in its last stages.
'To glorify one family, contribution of others was deliberately ignored'
In a veiled attack on the Nehru-Gandhi clan, Prime Minister Narendra Sunday alleged the contribution of several great leaders such as Sardar Patel, B R Ambedkar and Subhash Chandra Bose to the freedom struggle was "deliberately" forgotten to glorify "one family".
He also said it is high time more Indians knew about the historic role these stalwarts played.
Modi lamented that post Independence, India's policies were based on the British system as "things were seen through British glasses".
"Policies, including those related to education, had to suffer because of this," he said, adding that "Subhash babu always took pride in India's history and our rich values. He taught us that not everything must be seen from a non-Indian prism."
He said in the later decades of independent India, "if the country had got the guidance of personalities like Subhash Babu, Sardar Patel, the conditions would vary greatly".
Modi said that his government is changing that now.
"It is unfair that to glorify one family, the contribution of several other great leaders was deliberately forgotten. It is high time more Indians knew about the historic role of stalwarts Sardar Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Netaji Subhas Bose," he said.
The PM said while Bose focused on the East and Northeast India, the two regions did not get due recognition. Now, he said, his government is working to make the Northeast the "engine of growth".
Hailing Bose's spirit of nationalism, Modi said as a 16-year old, he was pained at the plight of India under the British rule.
"His ideology was nationalism... He lived by it. All over the world, people took inspiration from Netaji Subhas Bose in their fights against colonialism and inequality. We remain committed to fulfilling Netaji's ideals and building an India he would be proud of," he said.
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