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We will never let sanctity of our borders be violated: Rajnath Singh

On the eastern Ladakh standoff with China, Singh reiterated that India wants to resolve the border issue through dialogue

Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh

Press Trust of India Jammu
India will procure MQ-9B drones from the US by following the established procedure and will compare the "best price" offered by manufacturer General Atomics to other nations before concluding the purchase, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
On the eastern Ladakh standoff with China, Singh reiterated that India wants to resolve the border issue through dialogue and in a peaceful manner while asserting that the government will never compromise on the country's border and its self-respect.
"We will never let the sanctity of our borders be violated," the defence minister said at a national security conclave in Jammu, adding that the talks are continuing at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
On the drone deal with the US, Singh said the defence ministry will compare the acquisition cost of the drones with the best price General Atomics offered to other countries, adding the acquisition will be made only by following the established procurement procedure.
India and the US firmed up the drone deal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-profile visit to Washington.
Singh rejected speculative reports on the price and other terms of purchase relating to the procurement of 31 MQ-9B drones from the US.
His comments came a day after the defence ministry said it is yet to finalise the cost and specific terms of purchase of the MQ-9B long endurance drones from the US.
Strongly trashing reports in a section of social media on the price as well as the acquisition process, the ministry said it will examine the "best price" offered by the manufacturer to other nations before concluding the procurement.
The defence minister described the overall border situation with China as a matter of perceptional difference but noted that there are agreements and protocols based on which the armies of the two countries carry out the patrolling.
Referring to the standoff in eastern Ladakh, he said the Chinese Army ignored the agreed protocols and unilaterally tried to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control.
He lauded the valour and dedication of the Indian Army which prevented the attempts by China's PLA (People's Liberation Army) to change the status quo, according to a statement by the defence ministry.
On Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the defence minister said Pakistan does not have a locus standi there as it has illegally occupied the area.
The Indian Parliament has unanimously passed at least three resolutions which state that PoK is a part of India, he said.
Singh also mentioned the deal between US defence major General Electric Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to co-produce F-414 fighter jet engines in India.
"With this deal, we will become the fourth country to manufacture jet engines. Tejas aircraft will be fitted with these Made in India engines," he said.
Singh touched upon the measures taken by the government to bolster national security, including strengthening border infrastructure and achieving 'Aatmanirbharta' (self-reliance) in defence.
He listed out a number of steps taken to attain self-reliance, which included notification of positive indigenisation lists and earmarking 75 per cent of the defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in 2023-24.
"India does not want to depend on imported weapons. Our national security will only strengthen when we become self-reliant in defence manufacturing," Singh said.
"Our aim is to 'Make in India, Make for the world'. Our efforts are bearing fruit. Today, we are manufacturing tanks, aircraft carriers, submarines and various kinds of weapons," he said.
"Defence exports have crossed Rs 16,000 crore from a meagre Rs 900 crore before 2014. The exports will soon touch the Rs 20,000 crore mark," he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 26 2023 | 6:50 PM IST

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