Rafale will enhance IAF’s capability, says President Kovind

New Delhi: India is set to boost its defense capabilities with induction of the Rafale fighter aircraft in the coming months and compromising with security needs is not in the interest of the country, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday in his address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

“Compromising with security needs is not in the interest of the present and future of the country. New deals in the last year, purchase of defense equipment, raised the morale of the defense. After decades, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will use the ultramodern Rafale aircraft in the coming months and strengthen itself,” he said.

The statement from the President comes at a time when the Rafale jet deal controversy is on the boil.

The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal. The fighter jet is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which security analysts believe can be a ‘game-changer’ for India’s defense system.

President Kovind also hailed the Indian Armed Forces for the September 29, 2016, cross-border “surgical strikes” and stated that by making such a move India has introduced its new policies and strategies to the world.

“In the International context, while India is a staunch supporter of friendly ties with all countries, there is also a need to constantly strengthen our capabilities to tackle any challenges. Through surgical strikes on cross-border terror posts, India has shown its new policy and strategy. Last year India joined the handful of countries that possess the Nuclear Triad capability.,” he said.

On the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP), the President said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was successful in fulfilling the longstanding demand of the Indian armed forces and has disbursed the required amount.

“Our defense forces and their morale symbolize the prowess of India of the 21st century. Not only has my Government fulfilled the demand for One Rank One Pension that had been pending for four decades, but it has also disbursed arrears amounting to more than Rs 10,700 crore to 20 lakh ex-servicemen,” he said.

The OROP allows the General who retired in 1980 to receive the same pension as a General retiring in 2015 serving the same number of years in the army.

President also lauded the security forces for strengthening the country’s internal security and making efforts to eradicate terrorism and reduce violence.

“I would also like to congratulate the country’s security forces that are constantly striving to strengthen the country’s internal security. Their concerted efforts have played a crucial role in reducing terrorism and violence,” he said.
On the issue of Naxalism, the President said a large number of youngsters in Naxal hit areas have come forward to join the mainstream in the past few years. “The Police Memorial, which was dedicated to the nation last year seeks to honor their sacrifice and also preserves the memories of their sacrifice for the future generations,” he added.