NEW DELHI: At a time when an emerging India is looking to attract more and more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), it was imperative to assure investors and build confidence in them that the nation is secure both from external and internal threats, Army Chief Bipin Rawat said on Thursday.
"The economic development and military modernisation and the existence of the armed forces have to go hand in hand. They cannot be divested from each other," he said while delivering the welcome address at the Annual Army Seminar here adding that "economic rise will take place if the country is secure."
He referred to the efforts to attract FDI, including in the field of military modernisation and indigenous technology development.
India's defence forces are not a burden on the exchequer as they contributed towards nation building, apart from ensuring external and internal security, Rawat said.
"There is always a concern amongst the citizen, as to what happens to the money that is allotted to the three defence services. Well, the defence budget is meant to provide security to the nation both from external threats and internal," Rawat said.
"The issue we wish to highlight here is that a very large part (30-35%) of our defence budget -- which to many might appears as a burden on the exchequer -- actually goes into nation building. If you are developing roads and infrastructure in remote areas it also benefits the local population," he said.
"The armed forces in the remotest locations are providing facilities of healthcare and education to people residing there, where the government has not been able to reach out to them," Rawat added.
"Also, where troops are deployed, local produce of that area is purchased for consumption by the troops in those area, giving back in kind and monetary remuneration to the local community. And there are many more ways in which we contribute," the Army Chief said.
"While we may be drawing salaries we also contribute to the taxes particularly income tax in a very honest manner, which again goes to the exchequer," the General underlined.