Highlighting the country's strides in achieving self-reliance in every sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursdays said there is no place for an elitist mindset in 'New India'.
From secure borders and self-reDeliance to a strong economy and transformed global image, India is rising as one of the strongest countries under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing an event here, Singh pointed out that all sectors, especially defence, have been witnessing a transformative change in the last few years, which has guided India to a respectable position on the world map.
Singh said there is no place for an elitist mindset in 'New India'.
Terming national security as the government's top priority and self-reliance as the only medium to achieve it, the Defence Minister said relentless efforts are being made to attain 'Aatmanirbharta' in defence. He listed some of the steps of the Ministry of Defence, including notification of positive indigenisation lists; earmarking of a record 75 per cent of the defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in Financial Year 2023-24 and efforts to provide local companies access to the international market.
On the success achieved due to these decisions, Singh stated that domestic defence production has witnessed a significant increase in the last few years.
"We are not only catering our own needs but are also exporting weapons and equipment to other countries. From Rs 900 crore 7-8 years ago, defence exports have skyrocketed and are nearing Rs 14,000 crore in the current Financial Year. Our target is to export defence equipment worth Rs 40,000 crore by 2026," he said.
He stated that the government's efforts have resulted in the creation of over 100 unicorns, which is a testament to the success of this ecosystem.
Singh described India's diplomacy as another facet of Rising India. The presidency of G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year is proof that India's stature is continuously growing on the world stage, he said, adding that many international surveys have named Shri Narendra Modi as the most popular leader, which is also the view of many world leaders.
He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the change of India's image as an agenda-setter and how the Indian voice gets a patient audience in all international fora.
Singh added that India has led the world on issues like terrorism and has been successful in garnering support to eliminate the menace. He emphasised that countries, which use terrorism as a tool, are well aware of the fact that India never harms anyone unnecessarily, nor does it spare anyone who tries to hurt its unity, integrity and sovereignty.
Mentioning the surgical strikes, he stated that the move broke the back of terrorists and sent a strong message to the world that India will eliminate terrorism on its own soil, and if need be, on foreign land as well.
He added, "Whether it was the stand-off with China or ill intentions from Pakistan, our forces have been giving a befitting reply, whenever required."
Singh later reiterated the government's resolve to provide more and more opportunities to women at par with their male counterparts.
"From the construction of toilets for women and 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' to their growing role in the Armed Forces, women empowerment has been at the centre of the government's planning since the beginning. Women are today flying fighter aircraft and being inducted in artillery. Through this, we are not only empowering our women but strengthening the Armed Forces. This is another facet of Rising India," Singh said.
Singh also highlighted the Centre's resolve towards the development of the Northeast region. He stated that it has been ensured that the region, full of beauty and natural resources, is well connected to the heart of the country. There is unprecedented peace in the Northeast, which has resulted in the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from most areas, he added.
Rajnath Singh enumerated a number of decisions taken to promote ease of living such as providing free gas connections to women through Ujjwala Yojana; electrification of 99 per cent of villages; water supply to eight crore households under Jal Jeevan Mission in the last 3.5 years and many reforms in health, agriculture and education sectors.
He also mentioned the introduction of Yoga, Ayurveda and millets to the world, which has benefitted them in a new way, terming it as yet another achievement of a 'Rising India'. (ANI)