Dr Singh becomes third PM to review IMA POP

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Dehradun, Dec 10 (UNI) Dr Manmohan Singh today became the third Prime Minister to review the Passing Out Parade of Indian Military Academy after Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had reviewed the POP twice, in 1948 and 1953, while Ms Gandhi had reviewed the Golden Jubilee POP in 1982.

Today was the Platinum Jubilee year of the IMA POP.

Dr Singh, in his address to the young officers, said the government was fully committed to the technological modernisation of India's Armed Forces. He asserted that the country would not shy away from investing whatever was required in the training and equipment of the forces.

While the government would find the resources required, the leadership of the Armed Forces must focus their attention on improving efficiency of expenditure and, to use a common phrase, continually improve the ''bang to buck'' ratio, Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister said the government would make sincere efforts to ensure that the service conditions of the armed forces were such that they continue to attract the best and brightest among our young men and women to opt for a career in the forces.

''Institutions like the IMA and other institutions of our armed forces must develop the intellectual and organisational framework for such jointness in thinking and in action,'' he added.

Quoting Lord Mountbatten's message to IMA nearly sixty years ago, a few days after the passing away of the Father of the Nation, Dr Singh said, ''It is for the Army, more than any other organised unit in the country, to set an example and to bring about the policy Mahatma Gandhi gave his life for; that of Unified India without any communal buttress or ill feeling.'' These words ring true even today, Dr Singh said, adding that the Indian Army was a symbol and a proud example of the unity of our great country. It is a living example of national integration. ''You are Indians first, and Indians last,'' he asserted.

The Prime Minister said the Indian Armed Forces were the best and the most shining example of ''Unity in Diversity''. He called on the officers to take on the responsibility to strengthen the values of secularism, apolitical outlook and professionalism, which their worthy predecessors have so painstakingly nurtured.

He said the Indian Army had a formidable image, both at home and abroad and was largely respected for its professionalism. It is an Army known for its long martial tradition with the ethos of nationalism, patriotism and discipline as its bedrock.

Dr Singh pointed out that the challenge before army officers today was to become more efficient and more modern in their functioning.

''In the modern world, a modern army is a knowledge-based force. The application of science and technology and information technology has become an integral part of defence preparedness and warfare,'' he exhorted, adding that in the knowledge era, every soldier was a thinking machine, well educated and better trained soldiers having good quality equipment and the ability to strategise to delivery in action.

''Another dimension of a modern army in the modern world is increased jointness in action and in thinking at every stage in the career of the officers and soldiers. We need greater investment in these areas,'' he said.

In all, 606 cadets passed out from the IMA including five cadets of friendly foreign countries of Kyrgyzstan (two), Lesotho (one), Bhutan (one)and Kazakhstan (one).

According to IMA Commandant PK Rampal, IMA had trained 4,66,000 Gentlemen Cadets and 1,136 Gentlemen Cadets of 19 different friendly foreign countries since its inception on December 10, 1932.

UNI

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