NEW DELHI :
Asserting that national security is the government's "topmost priority", President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said India has amply demonstrated its intent and capabilities through surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes, and in future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure security.
Kovind said the government is rapidly taking forward the work of modernisation of the Army and the armed forces. In this regard, the country is going to receive its first Rafale fighter aircraft and the Apache helicopters in the near future, he said.
"New India will be sensitive and also economically prosperous. But for this to happen, the nation's security is of utmost importance. My government accords topmost priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle terrorism and naxalism," the President said in his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
Constitutionally, the President is the head of the state as well as the government.
"India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at terrorist hideouts across the border. In future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure our security," he said.
The Army carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016, while the Air Force carried out air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan.
To secure the future of the children of those who guard the borders and ensure peace and security for the nation, the amount of scholarship under the 'National Defence Fund' has been increased, Kovind said.
For the first time, the children of state police personnel have also been included in this scholarship, he added.
Special emphasis is being accorded by the government to the manufacture of modern armaments under 'Make in India', Kovind said, noting that the policy of indigenously manufacturing weapons such as modern rifles and cannons, tanks and combat aircrafts is being carried forward successfully.
"Defence corridors coming up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will further strengthen this mission. While fulfilling our security requirements, export of defence equipment is also being encouraged," he said.
Through 'One Rank, One Pension', an increased pensionary benefits to ex-servicemen, and expansion of health facilities, efforts are being made to improve their living standards, the President added.
The National War Memorial near the India Gate, in Delhi, built by the government seven decades after India's independence, is a tribute to the martyrs by a grateful nation, he said.
"Similarly, my government has set up the National Police Memorial in memory of police personnel who were martyred while safeguarding the security of the country," the President said.