National security, top priority : Kovind


Agencies, New Delhi President Ramnath Kovind on Thursday said that the government will take all possible steps to tackle terrorism and naxalism and ensure national security which is of utmost importance. "New India will be sensitive and also, economically prosperous. But for this to happen, nation’s security is of utmost importance. My Government accords top most priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle terrorism and naxalism," Mr Kovind said while addressing addressing the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha. The President in his address mentioned surgical and air strike conducted by Indian Army and Indian Air Force after terrorists attacked an Indian Army brigade headquarters in Uri, near the Line of Control in a pre-dawn ambush and on CRPF convoy in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, respectively. "India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at terrorist hideouts across the border. In future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure our security," Mr Kovind added. On National Register of Citizens (NRC), he said, "Illegal infiltrators pose a major threat to our internal security. This is leading to social imbalance in many parts of the country, as well as putting a huge pressure on limited livelihood opportunities. My Government has decided to implement the process of ‘National Register of Citizens’ on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration. Security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration." On the one hand, the government is working to identify the infiltrators, while on the other, it is also fully committed to protecting the victims of persecution due to their faith. In this regard, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities, he said. The President mentioned about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. "My Government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts," Mr Kovind said. On Naxalism, Mr Kovind said, "My Government is resolutely working to eradicate the menace of Naxalism from the country. Considerable success has been achieved in this direction during the last 5 years. The area affected by Naxalism is reducing continuously. In the coming years, development projects will be expedited in these areas, which will benefit our tribal brothers and sisters residing there." The President also spoke about the modernisation in Armed Forces. "The government is rapidly taking forward the work of modernisation of the army and the armed forces. India is going to receive the delivery of first ‘Rafale’ fighter aircraft and ‘Apache’ helicopters in the near future," Mr Kovind said. On Defence manufacturing, the President said that special emphasis is being accorded by the government to manufacture of modern armaments under ‘Make in India’. The policy of indigenously manufacturing weapons such as modern rifles and cannons, tanks and combat aircrafts is being carried forward successfully. ‘Defence Corridors’ coming up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will further strengthen this mission. While fulfilling our security requirements, export of defence equipment is also being encouraged, Mr Kovind said. "Respect towards soldiers and martyrs enhances self-respect and enthusiasm among the forces, and also strengthens our military capabilities. Hence, all possible efforts are being made to take care of our soldiers and their families. Through ‘One Rank One Pension’, increased pensionary benefits to ex-service men and expansion of health facilities, efforts are being made to improve their living standards," he said. On National War Memorial near India Gate in Delhi, the president said, "Seven decades after India's independence, is a tribute to the martyrs by a grateful nation. Similarly my Government has set up the ‘National Police Memorial’ in memory of police personnel who were martyred while safeguarding the security of the country."