Kochi, Dec 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Dec 15 set a precedent in the history of Indian armed forces by addressing a Combined Commanders' Conference on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, off Kochi.
As reported by OneIndia earlier, this is the first time the event is being held on board an aircraft carrier. This was PM Modi's second visit to INS Vikramaditya.
On Tuesday morning, at INS Gaurda in Kochi, the PM received a Tri-Services Guard of Honour ahead of his visit to INS Vikramaditya.
The PM also witnessed take-offs and landings of naval aircraft platforms from INS Vikramaditya, firing of missile firing from a warship, operations by MARCOS and steam-past of warships, including INS Virat.
The PM also took time out for an interaction with the soldiers, sailors and airmen on INS Vikramaditya.
India is at an exciting moment of change: PM
Addressing the commanders, the PM said Indian armed forces have always been known not just for the power they represent, but by the maturity and responsibility with which they wield it.
"India is at an exciting moment of change. There is a high tide of hope and optimism in the country. There is a new level of international confidence and interest in India. Our factories are humming with activity again. We are building the next generation infrastructure at a higher pace and with an eye to the future. Foreign Investments are rising sharply and so is India's ranking as a place to do business in," the PM said.
Terming Russia as a source of strength for the country, the PM said: "It remains important for our future, too."
He said India has advanced partnership with the United States in a comprehensive manner, including in defence.
"Our strategic partnerships in Europe have deepened. Across the world, India is seen not just as a new bright spot of the global economy. It is also seen as an anchor for regional and global peace, security and stability," the PM said.
Promoting stability and prosperity in our region key
On terrorism, the PM said with rising threat of radicalism, countries across all regions, including in the Islamic world, have reached out to seek cooperation with India.
"It is our neighbourhood that is most critical for our future and for our place in the world. But, we have a difficult neighbourhood with the full spectrum of security challenges. We see terrorism and ceasefire violations; reckless nuclear build up and threats; border transgressions; and, continuing military modernisation and expansion. The shadow of West Asian instability is becoming longer," the PM said.
He said India is engaging Pakistan to try and turn the course of history, bring an end to terrorism, build peaceful relations, advance cooperation and promote stability and prosperity in our region.
"There are many challenges and barriers on the path. But, the effort is worth it, because the peace dividends are huge and the future of our children is at stake. So, we will test their intentions to define the path ahead. For this, we have started a new NSA-level dialogue to bring security experts face to face with each other. But, we will never drop our guard on security and we will continue to judge progress on their commitments on terrorism," Modi said.
He said the government is keenly pursuing closer relations with China to harness the full potential of economic partnership.
"We will aim to address outstanding issues, maintain stability on the border, and develop greater mutual understanding and trust in our overlapping neighbourhood. I believe that India and China can engage constructively across the complexity of their relationship as two self-assured and confident nations, aware of their interests and responsibilities," the PM said.
Procurement process has been speeded up
Highlighting the achievements being made by the government in the field of defence, Modi said the procurement process has been speeded up and many pending acquisitions have been approved. He said firms steps have been taken to address shortages and cater for replacements.
"We are advancing the pace of expansion of border infrastructure and improve the mobility of our forces and equipment. This includes the strategic railways to the border region. We are transforming defence manufacturing in India through radically new policies and initiatives," the PM said.
The PM said that many foreign defence companies are coming here with ambitious new proposals for Make in India.
"We can never call ourselves a secure nation and a strong military power unless we develop domestic capabilities. This will also reduce capital costs and inventories. In addition, it will be a huge catalyst for industry, employment and economic growth in India," the PM said.
Other highlights of PM's speech on board INS Vikramaditya
* Procurement process to be reformed soon.
* Defence technology will now be a national endeavour tapping potential of academic institutions.
* Clear targets and goals on domestic acquisition.
* Greater involvement of our forces in innovation, design and development, especially from those who wield the weapons in the field.
* We need forces that are agile, mobile and driven by technology, not just human valour.
* Senior military leaders must have experience of Tri-Service Commands, experience in technology-driven environment.
* National Defence University will be a reality soon.