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Agniveers will provide leadership to nation in 21st century: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi's address was telecast live to all Agniveer Training Centres (Image courtesy: PIB)

The “transformative” Agnipath scheme will be a game-changer in strengthening Indian Armed Forces and make them future-ready for the challenges that lie ahead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday while addressing the first batch of Agniveers of the three Services who have commenced their basic training.

Hailing the potential of Agniveers, Prime Minister said that their spirit is reflective of the bravery of the Armed Forces which has always kept the flag of the nation flying high. He said that the experience they will acquire through this opportunity will be a source of pride for life.

PM Modi said that ‘New India’ is filled with renewed vigour, and efforts are underway to modernise the Armed Forces as well as make them ‘Aatmanirbhar’.

Emphasising that the way wars are fought is changing in the 21st century, Prime Minister discussed the new fronts of contactless warfare and challenges of cyber warfare, saying technologically-advanced soldiers will play a key role in the Armed Forces. He added the current generation of youth especially has this potential and so the Agniveers will play a leading role in our armed forces in the times to come.

Prime Minister also spoke about how the scheme will further empower women. He expressed happiness at how women Agniveers are adding pride to the naval forces and said that he looks forward to seeing women Agniveers in all three forces. He recalled how women are leading armed forces on various fronts, citing examples of woman soldier posted in Siachen and women driving modern fighter planes.

PM Modi said that getting posted in different regions will give the Agniveers an opportunity to get diverse experiences and that they should try to learn different languages and also about different cultures and ways of living. He exhorted Agniveers to remain curious about learning new things while simultaneously working on bettering their skills in the fields of their choice. Hailing the potential of youth and Agniveers, PM Modi concluded by saying that they are the ones who are going to provide leadership to the nation in the 21st century.

In his welcome remarks, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the PM’s vision of ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’, under which all sectors have set new targets and are making giant strides towards achieving them. He stated that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken a number of decisions to empower the nation, terming the Agnipath scheme as one of the most important and unprecedented reforms.

Singh asserted that strengthening the security apparatus of the country is the government’s top-most priority amidst the ever-evolving global scenario and geopolitical uncertainty. In such a situation, the Agnipath scheme will make the profile of the Armed Forces more youthful and tech-savvy, he said. The scheme, he said, is a pioneering step towards building a strong and prosperous ‘New India’.

The Defence Minister also appreciated the fact that the scheme received encouraging response, with a large number of applicants turning up for the recruitment. He made special mention of the women Agniveers who are also being trained along with their male counterparts.

Several ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, are coming forward for the welfare of Agniveers.

“Reservation is being ensured for Agniveers on a number of posts in various departments of the Ministry of Defence, Central Armed Police Forces and Ministry of Railways. Arrangements are being made jointly by MoD & Ministry of Education to ensure proper education to the Agniveers. In collaboration with Ministry of Finance, arrangements are being made to provide loans at reasonable rates to Agniveers, who wish to start self-employment or any business after service,” said Singh.

Agniveers, he said, will not only become Surakshaveers, but also Samriddhiveers. He exuded confidence that all the Agniveers will be greatly inspired and guided by the vision and meaningful thoughts of the Prime Minister.

The PM’s address was telecast live on all Agniveer Training Centres and was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande and other senior officers of Ministry of Defence.

Also Read: Rajnath envisions Agnipath as keystone of a rising India