The Indian Army has time and again shown it is capable of protecting the Motherland and India's quest for peace. It has also shown that India will protect its sovereignty at all costs, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Adding that the current decade belongs to India, Modi said the Government is committed to doing everything possible to support this aspiration.
“We will continue working to make our armed forces one of the most modern in the world. At the same time, the focus on making India self-reliant in the defence sector moves with full speed,” said Modi after inaugurating various projects worth over Rs 4,487 crore and laid the foundation stone for projects worth Rs 3,640 crore in Tamil Nadu.
“Today we observe the second anniversary of Pulwama Attack. We are proud of our security forces. India has today become Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defence sector," said Modi, after handing over the Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) to the Indian Army.
The tank has been indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE, Chennai, DRDO along with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.
These tanks, with 71 new features, will be used to protect Northern Borders, said Modi, adding that this project is another testimony of Aatmanirbhar going in full force in the defence sector and showcases our 'Bharat Ekta Darshan'.
Orders for 118 tanks worth Rs 8,500 crore have been placed, These will support 200 industries and generate 8,000 jobs.
"Chennai is an auto hub currently, it will become a hub for battle tanks now," said Modi, adding that the defence corridor in Tamil Nadu has already attracted around Rs 8,100 crore investment.
The world is looking at India with great enthusiasm and positivity. This is going to be India's decade. The Government is committed to doing everything possible to support this search of aspiration and inspiration, said Modi adding that this year's budget has once again showcased the reform commitment of the Government.
Modi said, the country is strengthening physical and social infrastructures including internet connectivity to villages, largest healthcare programme in the world and are also transforming the education sector with importance to out-of-the-box learning and technology.
“These developments will bring countless opportunities for our youth,” said Modi.
The Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I extension, which was inaugurated today, is another true testimony for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Despite the Pandemic the project was completed on time. Civil work and rolling stocks, which are completely indigenous.
The Rs 3,770 crore runs for 9.05 kms from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar and it will link North Chennai with the Airport and Central Railway Station. Around two lakh people are expected to use the service every day.
“These projects are symbols of innovations and indigenous development. These projects will lead to further development of Tamil Nadu,” said Modi.
In this year's budget, over Rs 63,000 crore has been set aside for 119-km of Phase-II of the project. This is one of the largest projects sanctioned for any city in one go. The focus on urban transport will boost ease of living here, he said.
The renovation and modernisation of Grand Anicut would benefit 227,000 acres of agricultural farms in Cauvery Delta districts of Tamil Nadu, said the Prime Minister, who asked farmers to conserve water adding that 'Per Drop, More Crop'. "It will help future generations," said the Prime Minister, while appreciating the farmers of TamilNadu for record food grain production.
“The Grand Anicut is a living testimony of our glorious past,” said Modi, who is in Tamil Nadu at a time Tamil Nadu is gearing up for state assembly elections.
The BJP has decided to continue its alliance with AIADMK for the upcoming election to be tentatively held in April.
In his speech he touched up some of the key issues concerning the polls, one of which pertained to fishermen.
“The issues faced by our fishermen are longstanding. Let me assure you that my government will always protect their rightful interests”, said the Prime Minister adding that since his government came in power 1,600 fishermen were released from the jails in Sri Lanka and not even a single fisherman is in the jail today.
While stating that a multi-purpose seaweed park is coming up in Tamil Nadu, Modi said there are provisions in the budget to ensure extra credit for fishermen, and that infrastructure related to fishing is being upgraded. Modern fishing harbours will come up in five centres, including Chennai.
During his speech he also recited poems of Tamil icons poet Avvaiyar and Subramania Bharat.