New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he celebrated Diwali with army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel at a border outpost in Uttarakhand close to the China border that India is continuously strengthening its defence weaponry but is equally mindful of the welfare of its defence personnel.
“We are continuously shoring up our defences, be it the army, navy or air force. We are also ensuring that our ever watchful and dedicated soldiers lead a good life even after retirement,” PM Modi said at Harsil, around 45 km from the India-China border.
Reiterating how India had achieved the expertise to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea, following a successful completion by a deterrence patrol by submarine INS Arihant, he said all efforts were also being made to drive out darkness from the lives of the soldiers who ensure that the people of the country live fearlessly by guarding its borders, “spending their days and nights in inhospitable conditions”.
Referring to retired defence personnel’s demand for One Rank One Pension (OROP), the prime minister said it was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which resolved the 45-year old demand. “I first heard about it from retired army personnel during my sojourn in Himachal Pradesh long back,” he said adding that as soon as he became the prime minister, he immediately ensured that the OROP issue was resolved.
“The previous dispensation had set aside a budget of Rs 500 crore assuming that they would resolve the issue, using that peanuts amount after they return to power again,” Modi said, in a veiled attack on the United Progressive Alliance regime. The BJP government, however, discovered that the amount was grossly inadequate.