New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday commended the efforts of the Indian armed forces in tackling terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and thwarting the attack on the Pathankot airbase in Punjab at this year’s beginning.
“Your strong and daring response against terrorists who came fully armed from across the border to attack the Pathankot airbase was an inspiration to the nation. I commend the efforts put in by our air warriors and security forces to thwart this attack,” Parrikar said in his message to the armed forces on the eve of the 70th Independence Day.
The minister further said: “Our armed forces have shown utmost restraint in tackling terrorists in the Kashmir Valley despite grave provocations. You have also effectively repulsed all ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border and attempts of terrorists to infiltrate into the country with nefarious designs.”
“I deeply mourn the martyrdom of seven of our bravehearts who laid down their lives for the cause of the nation in the counter action,” he added.
Parrikar also stressed on the need to “constantly upgrade and modernise our weapon systems and equipment”.
“The government has taken many steps to streamline the procurement process and make it faster and transparent. I am sure this would help you in getting the best weapons and defence platforms in the shortest time,” he said.
Parrikar said: “Considering the hardships and long separation of jawans from their families when serving in forward and high altitude areas, I have asked the Defence Ministry to complete the Married Accommodation Project on priority.”
“This will provide nearly two lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting. The third and final phase of MAP is soon expected to be implemented providing 71,000 more dwelling units,” he added.
He also shared the pain of the families of the defence personnel on board the AN-32 aircraft which went missing in the Bay of Bengal.
“Recently, one AN-32 aircraft on way to Port Blair went missing in the Bay of Bengal. It was a courier service operated by the IAF (Indian Air Force0 from Tambaram to Port Blair thrice a week. The aircraft had a crew of six and was carrying 23 defence service personnel,” he said.
He said the next of kin of the crew and passengers on board are being informed and regular updates on the search operations given to them by nominated officials.
“Inputs from all sources are being thoroughly investigated by ships and aircraft, but it is very unfortunate that no concrete evidence with respect to the missing aircraft has emerged so far.”
He assured that the government is making all possible efforts to locate the missing aircraft.
Parrikar thanked the armed forces for being in the forefront of the relief and rescue operations, both in India and abroad.
He thanked them for their daring efforts to douse the massive forest fires in the hills of Uttarakhand.
“My thoughts are with the near and dear ones of all those who laid down their lives protecting our nation. We are forever indebted to them for their supreme sacrifice,” Parrikar said.