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National security to remain Modi government’s top priority

By Anuj Cariappa
|

Panaji, June 05: The Narendra Modi government took a firm stand against terrorism in its first term and its re- election with a massive mandate will instill fear in the minds of the country's enemies, newly-inducted Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said.

Talking to PTI here, he said national security will continue to be a top priority for the NDA government in its second term which began on May 30.

Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik

The 66-year-old BJP MP from North Goa, who was re- inducted in the Modi ministry in its second innings, said the country stands united in its fight against terrorism.

The five-time MP not only retained his portfolio as Minister of State (independent) for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), he also got the charge as MoS in the Ministry of Defence.

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"Before the Modi-led government came to power for the first time (in 2014), there were only slogans in the name of anti-terrorist actions when Uri-like attacks used to happen.

"But we changed the trend and started acting against terrorists by going into their dens," Naik said in an exclusive interview.

"Right from surgical strike (in September 2016) to air strike (in February 2019), the Modi-led government has made it clear that any attack on India will not be taken lying down, he asserted.

The minister said people's confidence in the central government increased during Modi's first tenure.

"Now with the same government getting elected for a second innings, fear will be instilled in the minds of the nations enemies," he said.

Naik, who conceded that he has to learn a lot about his new portfolio, said the nations security was on top of the agenda of the first NDA government and the issue will continue to get the same priority in the second term also.

"Confidence of people have increased in the Modi-led government. Also, enemies of the country have realised India will not tolerate any kind of terrorist activity, he said.

"That is why even the incidents of infiltration have come down. The country is united in its fight against terrorists. This message has gone out very clearly," he said.

Naik said the BJP-led government took a tough stand on terrorism after giving peace a chance which was not successful.

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"In the past, there were attempts to work out solutions through peace but that did not work," Naik said, without naming any neighbouring country.

The BJP leader, who won from his traditional Lok Sabha seat for the fifth time in a row, said he was feeling proud to handle the defence portfolio as a junior minister.

"Patriotism runs in my blood and now I can do a lot for the country through this portfolio. I am lucky that I got an opportunity to serve my country," Naik said.

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