Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday, 23 April, said that if needed, Indian armed forces would go across the border to take action against the terrorists who are inimical to India.
Speaking at the 'Felicitation Ceremony' of 1971 war veterans in Guwahati, the defence minister stated that this is the firm decision of the government that Indian armed forces would go across the border to take appropriate action against the terrorists who are active against the country.
Referring to the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), he said that the act was recently lifted from 23 districts in Assam and from 15 police stations each in Manipur and Nagaland as the situation had improved in these areas.
"Our Army also does not want to keep the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. Army is not responsible, but the situation forced the promulgation of the act in Jammu and Kashmir. Whenever the situations improve, the AFSPA would be withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir."Rajnath Singh
He said that the Army is not for maintaining the internal security of the country; this is the responsibility of other security forces and the state police.
"If the Army can be withdrawn from internal security, they would more effectively deal with the country's external security at the frontiers. The Indian Army's strength, dedication and spirit are incredible. Due to the dedication and courage of 15 lakh strong Indian armed force personnel, the head of 'Bharat Mata' would never be low down," Singh said.
"This is a very proud feeling for the country that currently there are 38,000 to 40,000 retired Army veterans in the northeast region," he added.
Singh said that as part of the government's mission to make India an 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat' in defence equipment, the export of defence equipment increased by 334 percent during the past few years.
"By 2025, Indian defence exports would cross Rs 35,000 crore. India is now among the 25 countries in making and exporting defence equipment," he said.
Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami, Bangladesh's Lt Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (Retd.) among others were present in the event, held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Lt Col Zahir (Retd), who played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh's war of Liberation, was awarded with the Padma Shri in the social work category by the Indian government last year.