Modi prioritised defence sector: Nadda

Dehradun: BJP president J P Nadda on Saturday credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for prioritising the defence sector by increasing budgetary allocations for it manifold, giving a fresh impetus to building of border infrastructure and boosting the morale of the armed forces by celebrating Diwali every year along with soldiers on the borders.

“Everyone prefers to celebrate Diwali at home. But Modi ji celebrates it invariably with the jawans on some border or the other. He has not just boosted their morale by doing so but also given a message to the entire country that it is because of soldiers deployed along the borders that the rest of us can celebrate Diwali at home,” Nadda said.

“Modi ji has created a new enthusiasm and trust in the armed forces,” Nadda said at an interactive programme with ex-servicemen at Raiwala where he also honoured them.

He said budgetary allocation for defence has gone up manifold ever since Modi assumed office at the Centre and there is far greater emphasis today on the building of border roads and rail links in border areas.

In 2011-12 the budgetary allocation for defence was Rs 1,45,000 crore which has risen to Rs 4,78,000 crore at present, he said.

Measures like these have made it clear that defence is a priority for the prime minister, Nadda said.

He referred to how the world’s longest highway tunnel of 9.02 km connecting Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Leh at a height of 10000 feet whose foundation stone was laid by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was implemented under Modi’s leadership after hanging fire for 10 years under the UPA rule.

It also connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier the valley used to be cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall.

Nadda also spoke of new tunnel projects being built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on road and rail routes, and added 73 border roads and 3,812 km all-weather road being built under Modi’s leadership.

The BJP president said Modi’s decisive and visionary leadership had led to the building of a war memorial in Delhi, implementation of one rank, one pension scheme and modernisation of the army.

“Modi has emboldened the armed forces and given them the authority to take decisions. The situation today is not as it used to be around 10 years ago when the armed forces had to wait for government’s order to reply to firing from across the border. Our soldiers now retaliate even before the smoke from the enemy’s gun has died out,” Nadda said.

He also reminded the gathering of the prime minister’s stern message to Pakistan before the air strikes. “Pakistan ne bahut badi galti kar di hai. Khamiyaja to bhugatna hi padega. Zaroorat padi to ghar mein ghus ke marenge (Pakistan has committed a huge mistake. It must now face the consequences. We will hit them inside their home if needed),” Nadda said, citing the words as an example of Modi’s strong and resolute leadership.

Speaking at the event, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami thanked the party leadership for giving the son of a retired army man like him the opportunity to serve the state as the “Mukhya Sevak”.