‘Will en­sure you a good life’: PM Naren­dra Modi cel­e­brates Di­wali with army, ITBP

The Northlines - - NATION -

In­dia is con­tin­u­ously strength­en­ing its de­fence weaponry but is equally mind­ful of the wel­fare of its de­fence per­son­nel, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said on Wed­nes­day as he cel­e­brated Di­wali with army and In­doTi­betan Bor­der Po­lice (ITBP) per­son­nel at a bor­der out­post in Ut­tarak­hand close to the China bor­der.

“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.

“We dis­cov­ered that con­ced­ing that de­mand ac­tu­ally meant pay­ing the re­tired army per­son­nel their long-pend­ing ar­rears worth Rs 12,000 crore,” Modi said adding that the OROP is­sue was none­the­less re­solved. “Out of the to­tal pend­ing ar­rears, an amount of Rs 11,000 crore has al­ready been paid to the re­tired army per­son­nel.”

He said he would fre­quently in­ter­act with army and Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force dur­ing his ten­ure as the chief min­is­ter of Gu­jarat. “I would rush to the (Pak­istan) bor­der to spend Di­wali with our army and BSF jawans,” Modi said. Re­call­ing his as­so­ci­a­tion with ITBP, he said it went back to the early 1980s when the Kailash Mansarovar Ya­tra re­sumed. “I was also a part of the pilgrimage the year when it was re­sumed,” Modi said and re­called how ITBP men would ren­der as­sis­tance to pil­grims, even car­ry­ing them on their shoul­ders while ne­go­ti­at­ing tough hill ter­rain.

“When­ever it was re­quired, ITBP sol­diers would also carry pil­grims’ lug­gage on their shoul­ders,” he said. “They (ITBP men) would pitch in to help pil­grims in dis­tress de­spite the fact that it was not their job.” Prime Min­is­ter Modi ear­lier vis­ited Kedar­nath where he was re­ceived by chief min­is­ter Triven­dra Singh Rawat and other BJP lead­ers. Af­ter he per­formed puja at the shrine to Lord Shiva, he vis­ited a gallery to see pho­to­graphs of the re­con­struc­tion works.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.