Modi reviews operational readiness of armed forces at Combined Commanders’ Conference


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called upon the three services to stay ready to deal with new and emerging threats as he carried out a comprehensive review of the national security challenges with the country’s top military brass at the Combined Commanders Conference in Bhopal.

‘Some people have given ‘Supari’ to dent my image’
Bhopal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said some people are hellbent to sully his image and they have given a “supari” (contract) for this purpose colluding with certain people sitting in India and also outside the country.
Modi’s veiled attack on Congress comes amid a slugfest between the Grand Old Party and BJP over Rahul Gandhi’s “democracy under brutal attack in India” remarks in the UK and Germany taking note of Rahul’s disqualification from Lok Sabha. The BJP has accused the Congress of “inviting foreign powers” for interfering in India’s internal matters. The prime minister was addressing a gathering at Rani Kamalapati railway station after flagging off the semi-high-speed Bhopal-Delhi Vande Bharat Express train.
There are some people in our country who have been determined since 2014, spoken publicly and declared their resolve that they will tarnish Modi’s image. For this, they have given ‘supari’ (contract) to various people.
“Some people are sitting inside the country to support these people and some are doing their work sitting outside the country. These people have been continuously trying to spoil and dent Modi’s image,” he said.
But India’s poor, the middle class, tribals, Dalits, backward classes and every Indian have become the security cover of Modi, which made these people furious forcing them to adopt new tricks, the prime minister said.
Modi said such people have taken a pledge that “Modi Teri Kabar Khudegi”.
Amidst their conspiracies, every countryman has to pay attention to the development of the country and pay attention to building the nation, he said.
Slamming Congress without taking its name, Modi said previous governments were busy with vote bank appeasement whereas his government is busy satisfying people.
“They (the previous governments) considered one family (a reference to the Gandhis) as the first family of the country. They ignored the poor and middle class, and the Railway is a living example of this (ignorance),” he said.
Modi said when he was informed about this programme (flagging off Vande Bharat express train from Bhopal), he asked why it is scheduled on April 1.
“I said Congress friends will say that Modi will make (people) April fool but the train is being run from April 1. This is a symbol of our confidence, capabilities and skills”, he said.
The prime minister said the average Railway budget for Madhya Pradesh used to be Rs 600 crore before 2014 but it has now gone to more than Rs 13,000 crore.
Modi said previous governments could have easily upgraded the already existing rail network which India acquired after Independence but the development of railways was sacrificed due to vested political interests.
Even after decades of independence, the Northeastern states had not been connected to the rail network. Indian Railway is a common family transport but why it was not upgraded and modernized earlier”? he asked.
“In a way, Vande Bharat is a symbol of India’s enthusiasm and excitement. It represents our skills, confidence and capabilities,” he said.
The prime minister also expressed deep grief over the stepwell roof collapse tragedy in a temple in Indore which killed 36 people and injured 16 on Ram Navami.
A fresh war of words erupted between BJP and the Opposition party after senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday thanked the German foreign ministry and Richard Walker, Chief International Editor of Deutsche Welle, for “taking note of how the Democracy is being compromised in India through the persecution of Rahul Gandhi”. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had shared a screenshot of Digivijaya Singh’s tweet, saying, “Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters. Remember, Indian Judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji”.

The defence ministry said Prime Minister Modi emphasised that all steps are being taken to equip the armed forces with necessary weapons and technologies.
It is learnt that India’s security challenges along the frontier with China, cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, the ambitious plan to create integrated theatre commands, the implementation of the Agnipath scheme and ways to bolster the country’s maritime prowess were among the key issues discussed at the three-day conference.
Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar could not attend the valedictory session of the conference as he tested positive for Covid-19, people familiar with the matter said, adding he is asymptomatic.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the security situation and operational readiness of the armed forces during the valedictory session of Combined Commanders’ Conference 2023 in Bhopal on April 1.
“The prime minister was briefed by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan about the various discussions conducted during this year’s conference,” it said.
The ministry said Modi called upon the three services to stay ready to deal with the new and emerging threats, emphasising that all steps are being taken to equip the armed forces with necessary weapons and technologies.
It said Modi complimented the Armed Forces for their role in nation-building and providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) assistance to friendly countries.
During the final day of the session, various topics including aspects of digitisation, cyber security, challenges of social media, Aatmanirbharta, absorption of Agniveers and jointness were discussed.
“In a significant development from the past, the scope of the conference was expanded this year, wherein, a few multi-layered and interactive sessions were conducted with the participation of soldiers from every command of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, including the Tri-Services Andaman and Nicobar Command,” the defence ministry said.
This three-day conference of the combined apex-level military leadership of the country commenced on March 30. The theme was ‘Ready, Resurgent, Relevant’.
At the conference, deliberations over a varied spectrum of issues were held, including national security and evolving a joint military vision for the future.
On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh interacted with the top military brass and reviewed the defence preparedness. He lauded the armed forces for their valuable contribution in protecting national interests and providing support to the government in realising its vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the ministry said.
This year’s conference was special as inputs from the field units were sought on contemporary issues including the way forward for greater integration among the three services.
“These inputs were deliberated in detail by the military commanders.
“The conference also provided an opportunity for the Commanders to review the modernisation of the armed forces and the ongoing and concluded military operations, while also discussing ways to improve the country’s defence capabilities,” the ministry said.
Officials said challenges from China including the situation in eastern Ladakh were discussed at the conference. There was extensive deliberation on ways to implement the plan to roll out theatre commands.
As per the theaterisation plan, each of the theatre commands will have units of the army, navy and air force and all of them will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander. At present, the three services have separate commands.
Initially, a plan was firmed up for the creation of an Air Defence Command and Maritime Theatre Command. The theatre commands are being planned to integrate the capabilities of the three services and to ensure optimal utilisation of their resources.

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