NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asserted that India will not succumb to any pressure or influence in matters of national security, as he emphasised the importance his government gives to the armed forces.
In an address at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of Kargil War, Modi also sent out a strong message to Pakistan against repeat of such misadventures, saying the Indian armed forces had defeated the neighbouring country's evil designs two decades back.
He said conflicts in today's time have reached space and the cyber world.
"The Armed Forces must be modernised and it is also our priority. We will not succumb to any pressure or influence in the matters of national security. (Rashtra ki suraksha ke liye na kisike dabav mein kaam hoga, na prabhav mein aur na hi kisi abhav mein). From deep sea to the infinite universe, India will use its competency to the fullest," he said.
"We have been taking steps for safeguarding the country's security interests and to protect our resources, and we will continue to do that," the prime minister added.
He asserted that India has never been an aggressor and the Indian Armed Forces are perceived as defenders of humanity and peace across the world.
Modi said terrorism and proxy war pose a threat to the entire world today.
In reference to Pakistan, he said those who were defeated in war, are resorting to proxy war and supporting terrorism today to achieve their political objectives.
The need of the hour is that all those who believe in humanity, should stand in support of the armed forces and this is essential to effectively counter-terrorism, he said.
The prime minister said Pakistan has repeatedly resorted to deceit in Kashmir, in 1948, 1965, 1971, and 1999 but they failed every time.
Recalling the resolve of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for an effective response to Pakistan, Modi said the neighbouring country had no answer to that.
Referring to the Delhi-Lahore bus service and the other steps taken by Vajpayee for the betterment of ties, the prime minister said the peace initiative of that government had led to a better understanding of the rest of the world about India's position on the issue.
Recalling the sacrifice of the Indian soldiers during the Kargil war, Modi said it was a symbol of India's might and its security will remain impregnable with the dedication of the armed forces.
"Kargil victory was a symbol of India's might, determination and capability," he said in presence of a large number of military personnel and ex-servicemen at the event here.
"Wars are fought not by governments but by the whole country. Kargil victory still inspires the whole country. Kargil was the victory of every Indian," he added.
Modi said he had also visited Kargil when the war was at its peak and it was like a pilgrimage to him.
He stressed on the importance of "jointness" among the three wings of the armed forces.
Modi said the armed forces are being rapidly modernised, and efforts are being made to increase the participation of the private sector for "Make in India" in the defence sector.
He also mentioned the establishment of India's nuclear triad through Arihant, and the testing of A-SAT - the anti-satellite test.
Modi said infrastructure is being strengthened in the border areas.
He spoke of steps being taken for the development of border areas, and the welfare of people living there.
"Development is possible only if country is secure. We will not come under any pressure when it comes to national security," he said.
Modi also mentioned the decisions his government has taken for the betterment of the armed forces personnel, including the One Rank One Pension (OROP), enhanced scholarship for wards of martyrs and building the National War Memorial.
Remembering the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Kargil war, Modi also called for a collective resolve to ensure that their sacrifices do not go in vain.
He said when India got Independence in 1947, it was not for any particular community or caste but for the entire country.
"When we wrote our Constitution, did we write it for the people of one particular language, religion or caste? No, it was for the entire country. Twenty years ago, when our 500 soldiers gave their lives on the icy heights. Whom did they sacrifice their life for?" Modi posed.
He recalled the heroics of Major Sarvanand who hailed from Tamil Nadu and served in the Bihar Regiment and was awarded the Vir Chakra, Delhi resident Captain Hanifuddin of the Rajputana Rifles and Captain Vikram Batra from Himachal Pradesh who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
"'Yeh Dil Maange More' (words of Capt Batra). For whom did his heart ask for more. Not for himself, or for any language, religion or caste. This was for the entire country, for Mother India."
"Let's resolve that these sacrifice will not go in vain and we will take inspiration from the deeds of these martyrs and build India of their dreams," Modi said.