Wed, 20 Jan 2021

New Delhi [India], December 4 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday took a veiled dig at Pakistan and said that countries which are not able to protect their sovereignty become like "our neighbour".

"Countries which are not able to protect their sovereignty become like our neighbour. They can neither construct their own road, nor use it to walk, nor do trade, nor stop anyone else from doing trade," Rajnath said addressing the second edition of the Armed Forces Flag Day CSR Conclave webinar.

The minister's remarks are being seen as a reference to Pakistan where China is seen to be increasing its influence and projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are seen to be mired in insufficient transparency and meant to further Chinese interests.

The minister said the contribution of the country's armed forces is immense as they are providers of security for the continuance of industrial activity in the country.

"Our brave jawans are engaged in the security of the borders of the country. They have not only secured the borders but they have also laid down their lives for the country. For our industries and businesses, security is of paramount importance," the minister said.

"I want to remind everyone of Galwan valley clash between India and China where our brave jawans laid down their lives for the country," he added.

Singh said that the NDA government has encouraged the private sector to grow and noted that there has been a substantial increase in the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) during the last few years, with the generous contribution of Indian industry through CSR.

He lauded the industry for its contributions to AFFD Fund last year and appealed to it to continue contributing for this noble cause.

The minister said the government has recognised the role and importance of private sector in the development of the country.

He said the defence sector which was out of bound for the private sector, is now open to welcome the Indian private sector also.

Singh said some "revolutionary steps" have been taken to encourage private sector participation in the defence sector and urged industries to come forward to take due advantage.

He said in the process of safeguarding the sovereignty of the country personnel of armed forces sometimes even lay down their lives, or are rendered disabled.

"Hence the rehabilitation and welfare of our ex-servicemen, the next of kin of our martyrs and our disabled soldiers is the responsibility of all citizens. The Flag Day provides us an opportunity to fulfill this responsibility by contributing to the AFFD fund," he said.

Recalling the spirit of the service of ex-servicemen, he said even during the difficult days of COVID-19 pandemic, they assisted the local administration in tasks such as contact tracing, community surveillance and quarantine management.

Singh said that the corporate sector's financial contributions to the defence sector is important.

"From the last few years, we have received the corporate sector's increased contribution in Flag Day fund for the armed forces. The corporate sector's contribution is important and makes them join the league of the patriots," he said and recalled some names from the industry who contributed to the country's freedom.

He said people of a village in Rajasthan had decided that they will send one person from every family to join the armed forces.

"When I was the Home Minister, I had started a programme called 'Bharat ke Veer'. People from various sectors had contributed to this initiative. We should all contribute to this cause with a big heart. We have to work for the country and society. This will strengthen our armed forces," he said"Our country's culture has always been a community-oriented one. Commitment towards the country and society has always been of paramount importance," he added. (ANI)

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