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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Performs 'Shastra Puja', Celebrates Dussehra With Army Soldiers In Tawang

Singh, accompanied by Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, also carried out a comprehensive review of India's military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh and lauded the troops for guarding the border with "unwavering commitment and unparalleled courage."

Rajnath Singh in Tawang
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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday performed ‘Shastra Puja’ in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang and celebrated Dussehra with Army soldiers at the strategically key region near the frontier with China.

Singh, accompanied by Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, also carried out a comprehensive review of India's military preparedness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh and lauded the troops for guarding the border with "unwavering commitment and unparalleled courage."

In 1962, Chinese troops had clashed with Indian forces in the region, and significantly, Tawang town was over-run on October 24 that year. 

During an interaction with the soldiers after visiting Bum-La and a number of other forward posts, Singh asserted that there is no option but to bolster the country's security apparatus in view of the current global scenario.

The defence minister said all efforts are being made to strengthen the nation's military prowess through indigenous production of defence equipment.

"No amount of appreciation is enough for the way you are guarding the border in difficult circumstances. I want to tell you that people of the country are proud of you," he told the troops.

The defence minister expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their "unyielding spirit, unwavering commitment and unparalleled courage" while guarding the borders in tough conditions, and ensuring that the nation and its people are safe.

After performing ‘Shastra Puja’ (worship of weapons) with the troops at Tawang, he noted that Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil.

In his address, he described the "righteousness and dharma" of the brave armed forces personnel as the living testament to the ethos of the festival of Vijayadashmi.

The defence minister said the valour and commitment of the armed forces is one of the main reasons behind India's rising stature globally and that it is now among the most powerful nations.

Singh cited India's success in the economic sphere as one of the reasons for the country's growing global profile. But, at the same time noted that if the armed forces hadn't guarded the country's border effectively, then its stature would not have risen.

He also underlined efforts being made by the government to strengthen the nation's military prowess through indigenous production of defence equipment.

"Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, giant strides have been made towards 'Aatmanirbharta' in defence. Earlier, we used to rely on imports to upgrade our military. But today, a number of major weapons and platforms are being manufactured within the country," Singh said.

Foreign companies are being encouraged to share their technology and produce equipment in India with the domestic industry, he said.

"In 2014, the value of defence exports was about Rs 1,000 crore, but today, we are exporting defence equipment worth thousands of crores," Singh said.

The defence minister's celebration of Dussehra with the soldiers at the strategically important location close to the LAC comes at a time when India and China have been engaged in a bitter standoff in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh for over three years.

Singh has been performing "Shastra Puja" during Dussehra for the last several years, including during his tenure as the Union Home Minister in the previous NDA government.

Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh, even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

The Army has significantly bolstered deployment of troops and weaponry along the nearly 3,500 km-long LAC, including in the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors following the eastern Ladakh standoff.

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