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Armed forces to be modernised, says Manmohan

PM's remarks come in the background of high attrition rate and mounting cases of fratricide and suicides.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2007 15:08 IST

In the backdrop of increasing attrition in the defence forces, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the government will make sincere efforts to improve their service conditions and modernise the armed forces.

"Our government will make sincere efforts to ensure that the service conditions of our armed forces are such as to continue to attract the best and brightest among our young men and young women to opt for a career in our armed forces," he told cadets of the Indian Military Academy after reviewing their passing out parade.

His remarks came in the background of high attrition rate and mounting cases of fratricide and suicides among the armed forces personnel.

Describing the soldier as a "thinking machine" in the present "knowledge era", Singh spoke about the need for high quality training, good quality equipment and the ability to strategise and act for the success of the armed forces.

"I assure you that our Government is fully committed to the technological modernization of our Armed Forces. We will not shy away from investing whatever is required in the training and equipment of our armed forces," he said.

Addressing the platinum jubilee of the IMA, the Prime Minister said, "It is your responsibility to strengthen the values of secularism, apolitical outlook and professionalism, which your worthy predecessors have so painstakingly nurtured".

Lauding the Indian Army as "a symbol and a proud example of the unity of our great country," Singh said, "It is a living example of national integration. Each one of you is a proud soldier of India willing to perform the supreme sacrifice for our Republic, without fear or favour, without any prejudice based on your ethnic, religious, linguistic, regional or caste identity".

"The Indian Army has a formidable image, both at home and abroad. It is an Army known for its long martial tradition with the ethos of nationalism, patriotism and discipline as its bedrock," he said.

"We salute the Army's role in preserving our territorial integrity, as also in serving our people during times of national calamities," the Prime Minister said.

Referring to the colours of the IMA flag carrying the motto of valour and wisdom, he said the steel grey and blood red colours reflect the "steel" in their resolve to perform with valour and wisdom.

"Our armed forces have demonstrated to the world that it is possible for one of the largest armies in the world, one of the oldest armies in the world and one of the most professional armies in the world to strengthen the sinews of a democratic society and pluralistic nation," he said.

Singh said he was happy to note that amongst those who passed out today were cadets from Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Bhutan and Kazakhstan.