Rajnath Singh takes charge as Defence Minister

New Delhi, June 13 (UNI) Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday took charge as the Defence Minister for the second consecutive term and outlined his vision for the next five years, especially in establishing a more secure, self-reliant and prosperous nation.

Talking to reporters on the occasion, the Defence Minister said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our aim will be to further strengthen the security apparatus of the country, with focus on achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

“Armed Forces modernisation and the welfare of the soldiers, both serving and retired, will continue to be our main focus,” an official statement said.

Stating that the objective would be to increase defence exports in the times to come, Singh said, “Defence exports had touched a record Rs 21,083 crore in Financial Year 2023-24. It was historic. Our target will be to export over Rs 50,000 crore worth of defence equipment by 2028-2029.”

He asserted that the Armed Forces were being equipped with state-of-the-art weapons/platforms and they are ready to face every challenge.

He commended the military personnel for protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation with valour and commitment.

He also chaired a review meeting on the first 100 days’ Action Plan of MoD under the new government led by Prime Minister Modi. The meeting focused on the welfare of veterans, wherein major issues pertaining to the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare were discussed. He instructed the officers to re-dedicate themselves to fulfill the agenda laid out in the 100 days’ Action Plan.

With a view to enhance defence preparedness and continued thrust on Aatmanirbharta in Defence, the Raksha Mantri stated that he will be conducting regular review meetings to fast-track the progress of the flagship schemes and the initiatives of MoD.

Emphasising the growing salience of the Indian Ocean Region in the defence calculus, the Defence Minister has decided on his first visit in this tenure to the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, wherein he will be interacting with the officers and sailors.

He was welcomed at South Block, by Minister of State for Defence Sanjay Seth, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral Dinesh Tripathi and other senior officials.

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