Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh virtually launched from New Delhi on August 13, 2021 a series of major events, organised by the Armed Forces & various other organisations of Ministry of Defence, to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, being celebrated as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. Addressing the gathering, Shri Rajnath Singh congratulated the Ministry & the Armed Forces for organising various events across the country which will instill a sense of national pride among the people. He stated that events represent the Indian ethos of ‘unity in diversity’.
Shri Rajnath Singh paid homage to all the bravehearts who laid down their lives and defended the sovereignty & integrity of the country. Remembering Captain Vikram Batra who made the supreme sacrifice during the Kargil war, the Raksha Mantri said the bravery and deep-rooted passion of the gallant heroes will always be an inspiration for generations to come.
The Raksha Mantri also threw light on the five pillars (Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75) envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi when he had kicked off the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations in March 2021. He stated that the five pillars will act as a guiding force for the country to move forward in the path of development.
Echoing the Government’s resolve, Shri Rajnath Singh stated “we aim to develop a powerful & self-reliant Bharat which is peace-loving but fully capable of giving a befitting reply whenever challenged”. He assured the nation that the Armed Forces are fully equipped to deal with any challenge that endangers the safety, security, unity and integrity of the nation. He said the decisions aimed to promote jointness among the Armed Forces will play a pivotal role in bolstering the security infrastructure of the country.
Reiterating the Government’s action plan to make India ‘AatmaNirbhar’, the Raksha Mantri said no stone is being left unturned to make the country self-reliant in defence manufacturing. He said the country’s dependency on imports has decreased considerably due to measures taken by the Government, including notifying two positive indigenisation lists to promote self-reliance and defence exports. He also made special mention of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier to be built in India, saying that it was a moment of immense pride for the entire nation when the aircraft carrier undertook its maiden sea voyage recently.
Shri Rajnath Singh lauded the Armed Forces and different organisations of Ministry of Defence for providing continuous support to the civil administration in the fight against COVID-19. He highlighted the crucial role played by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in setting up COVID care hospitals across the country and developing anti-COVID drug ‘2-DG’. He also commended the Armed Forces for providing logistic support to civil authorities to meet the oxygen requirement.
The Raksha Mantri also congratulated the Indian contingent for its excellent performance in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, especially Subedar Neeraj Chopra who bagged India’s only Gold of the Games in Javelin Throw.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat remembered Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for their leadership role in India’s Independence movement. Saying that the Armed Forces are ready to deal with any challenge, he stated that the efforts taken to increase jointness among the forces will enhance their capabilities.
In his welcome address, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar gave a brief overview of the various events launched on the occasion, saying that these are aimed at inculcating a sense of patriotism among the people on the 75th anniversary of Independence Day.
The events inaugurated by the Raksha Mantri are as follows:
- Hoisting of National Flag at 75 Passes/Places: 75 teams of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) departed to unfurl the National Flag at 75 Important Passes and Places in the country. The most prominent among them is ‘Umlingla Pass’, which is the Highest Motorable Road in the World at 19,300 feet, in Eastern Ladakh. The national tri-colour will also be unfurled at prominent infrastructure landmarks like Atal Tunnel, Rohtang and Dhola Sadiya Bridge in the Northeast, besides in friendly foreign countries.
- Hoisting of National Flag in Islands: The Raksha Mantri launched proceedings for unfurling of National Flag at 100 islands Pan-India by Indian Coast Guard on August 15, 2021.
- Army Expedition: The Raksha Mantri flagged off the expedition of Indian Army teams which will scale 75 mountain passes to mark this momentous occasion. The passes include Saserla Pass in Ladakh region, Stakpochan Pass in Kargil region, Satopanth, Harshil, Uttarakhand, Phim Karnla, Sikkim and Point 4493, Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Cleaning of statues: To pay homage to the freedom fighters and the bravehearts of the country, Shri Rajnath Singh launched a Pan-India event, ‘Swatantra Senaniyon ko Naman’, organised National Cadet Corps (NCC). On the occasion, the NCC cadets carried out cleaning and maintenance of 825 statues adopted by 825 NCC Battalions.
- Gallantrypedia module for Gallantry awards portal: A Gallantrypedia module of Awardees’ has been launched (https://www.gallantryawards.gov.in/) to honour the Gallantry awardees and motivate people, especially the youth, to interact with the portal. People will now be able to share their own content about the awardees which would help in making the portal more engaging, dynamic and informative.
- Book on ‘Deeds of Gallantry’: A book ‘Deeds of Gallantry’, commemorating India’s victory in the 1971 war, was unveiled by the Raksha Mantri. The book details 20 selected battles and highlights the valour of Indian soldiers.
- Defence Exports: To showcase and expand the defence export capabilities, Shri Rajnath Singh launched ‘Off the Shelf’ Export Ready Defence Products Portfolio beginning with Fast Interceptor Boat by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL); a Transducer Manufacturing & Production facility developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to cater to the production of wide range of Transducers & underwater equipment and oxygen concentrator developed by BEL.
- Jan Sampark Abhiyan: Jan Sampark Abhiyan for the Ex-servicemen has been launched wherein a representative each of the respective Zila Sainik Board along with a representative of Indian Ex-Servicemen League, a recognised ESM association, will interact simultaneously with the ESM fraternity in 75 districts across the country. On the occasion, Shri Rajnath Singh virtually interacted with ex-servicemen in different states who shared their views on some issues faced by the veterans. The Raksha Mantri urged the ex-servicemen to give suggestions to the Ministry on the issues faced by them, stating that all efforts will be made to resolve them in a time-bound manner.
- Rejuvenation of water bodies: Underlining the importance of water conservation, Shri Rajnath Singh flagged-off activities for rejuvenation of 75 water bodies across 62 Cantonments. He inaugurated the work on the Patel Park Lake in Ambala Cantt.
- DRDO Scientists: The Raksha Mantri also flagged off a team of DRDO scientists to border area villages to celebrate Independence Day.
Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Raj Kumar, Secretary (Ex-servicemen Welfare) Shri B Anand, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Shri Sanjiv Mittal, DG Indian Coast Guard Shri K Natarajan, DG National Cadet Corps Lieutenant General Tarun Kumar Aich, DG Border Roads Organisation Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary and other senior civil & military officials of Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion.