PM Modi birthday: Top 10 defence decisions by his government

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns 72 on Saturday, 17 September. PM Modi has never been one to shy away from taking tough decisions, be it the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or the implementing the Agnipath scheme, despite opposition from certain groups.

As PM Modi celebrates his special day, it’s worth looking at how his government has taken steps to modernise and reform the defence sector. The NDA government has tried its best to ensure that Indian Armed Forces remain one of the most capable in the world.

From implementing ‘Make in India’ in defence to buying the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia, here are the top 10 decisions taken by the Modi government on defence:

1. Implementing One Rank One Pension:

Veteran soldiers had been demanding ‘One Rank One Pension’ for decades. The Modi government announced OROP during its first term. The scheme gives uniform pension to the armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank, with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

2. Surgical strikes:

Proving that India is not afraid to face its enemies head-on and avenge its martyred soldiers, the Narendra Modi-led government has ordered multiple surgical strikes in its tenure. The first such strike was carried out in 2015 in Myanmar, against insurgents. This was followed by the 2016 Uri surgical strike and the 2019 Balakot air strike.

3. Establishing the post of CDS

The Centre decided to establish the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Armed Forces in 2019 to bolster the nation’s military prowess and bring about more operational cohesiveness between the branches of the armed forces. General Bipin Rawat was the first CDS of India till his untimely death in a helicopter crash last year.

4. Rafale deal

PM Modi inked the deal with France for buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault, to strengthen the Indian Air Force. The 7.8 billion Euro deal also stated that France would invest 20 percent of the money in producing parts of the aircraft in India. The deal was under discussion during UPA rule, but failed to take off over a number of issues.

5. ‘Make in India’ in defence

All nations face the test of either remaining dependent on foreign defence manufacturers or establishing their own production lines for weapons. To manifest the slogan of Aatmanirbhar Bharat into reality, the Centre has signed over 180 contracts with Indian defence manufacturers. In order to make India more independent in the defence sector as well as boost its manufacturing capabilities, PM Modi has invited foreign defence manufacturers to invest in India. The Centre also increased foreign direct investment in defence to 74 percent.

6. Buying S-400s from Russia

Despite the possibility of the United States imposing economic sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Modi government proceeded ahead with purchasing the S-400 missile defence system from Russia.

7. Negotiations on Predator drones with the US

To boost its surveillance capabilities at the borders, India is trying to buy 30 MQ-9B Predator armed drones from the United States. The talks are at an advanced stage.

8. Splitting of the Ordnance Factory Board

To streamline defence equipment production, the Ordnance Factory Board, which operated 41 ammunition and military equipment production facilities, was split into seven state-owned firms in 2021. The restructuring was aimed at increasing the efficiency, productivity and enhancing the competitiveness of the sector.

9. Deal for procuring 83 Tejas aircraft

The Modi government approved the acquisition of 83 indigenously-developed light combat aircraft Tejas for the Air Force in 2021. The deal, which will cost Rs 48,000 crore, is set to be a game-changer for India as far as its domestic aerospace industry is concerned. The deal is reported to be the biggest indigenous defence procurement deal. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture the aircraft.

10. Agnipath recruitment scheme

The Narendra Modi government revolutionised the defence recruitment sector through the Agnipath scheme. The scheme will see about 45,000-50,000 soldiers being recruited annually, out of which most will leave the service in four years. The scheme can make India’s permanent force much leaner and reduce the defence pension bill.

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PM Modi birthday: Top 10 defence decisions by his government
PM Modi birthday: Top 10 defence decisions by his government
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