Safety and security of country is government's top priority: Rajnath Singh

Defence minister said there is a demand for more than 1,000 civilian helicopters in the country and an equal number of helicopters in the defence sector

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  2 April 2022 11:22 AM GMT
Safety and security of country is governments top priority: Rajnath Singh

Hyderabad: The safety and security of the country is the government's top priority and all efforts are being made to safeguard its unity and integrity, said Defence minister Rajnath Singh while addressing a conclave organised to commemorate 60 years of Chetak helicopter's service to the nation.

The conclave was organised by the Indian Air Force at the Air Force Station, Hakimpet, in Hyderabad on 2 April.

Describing the conclave as a fitting tribute to those who have served the nation, Mr. Singh said, "Whenever a country fights a war for its safety and security, it is not just the armed forces who take part. The whole nation fights that war. The scientists, engineers, and technicians of organisations like HAL, who develop helicopters like 'Chetak' and other platforms, play an equally important role as our soldiers. Lakhs of employees and workers associated with MSMEs also contribute by supplying parts to these projects. This conclave celebrates their hard work and dedication."

Mr. Singh described 'Chetak' helicopter, named after Rajput king Rana Pratap's horse, as not just a machine but a vibrant and dedicated entity that has been continuously engaged in the service of the nation for the last six decades and has set an example for others. He noted that nearly 700 Chetaks manufactured so far have served the nation in war and peace.

Elaborating on the capabilities of the helicopter, the minister said Chetak has proved its mettle in the battlefield by targeting enemies with accuracy and successfully landing troops. He said it has also helped in delivering essential logistics and saved precious lives through its evacuation efforts during emergencies. He recalled the extraordinary contribution of the Chetak helicopter during the 1971 war. "From providing air support to ground troops to heli-bridging operations and destroying enemy positions, our air warriors onboard 'Chetak' showed exemplary courage and professionalism during the war," he said.

The minister was of the view that India has shown its strength in the design, development, and operation of helicopters in the five-tonne category. He stressed the need to march forward in the design and development of the 10-tonne Indian Multirole Helicopter which, he said, is a significant requirement for the armed forces and has huge market potential.

He called to fast-track the design and development of helicopter technology in the country, and said it is one of the dual-use technologies which will not only prove to be effective in the defence sector, but will make India a dominant force in the helicopter market. "According to an estimate, there is a demand for more than 1,000 civilian helicopters in the country and an equal number of helicopters in the defence sector. We need to exploit this huge potential in the helicopter market. In addition, we need to make efforts to strengthen India's claim in the Rotary wing domain. The era is changing. I am sure that in the times to come we will be more bright, strong and completely self-reliant," he added.

He reiterated the government's resolve of achieving 'Aatmanirbharta' in defence production and preparedness, in view of the constantly changing global security scenario. "Earlier, the country was dependent on imports from other countries to bolster the defence sector. This government believes in strengthening our own shoulders to protect ourselves. We are making sure that India is not dependent of anyone," he stressed.

However, he maintained that by being strong, India does not mean to establish dominance in the world. He said India has always followed the path of truth, non-violence, and peace and does not support aggression of any kind.

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