Kanpur/Lucknow (UP) | Noting that armed forces veterans hold a special place in the heart of every Indian, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the Narendra Modi government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure their well-being, be it implementing the "one rank, one pension" scheme or providing healthcare and re-employment.
Indian soldiers rise above family, caste and creed in the service of the nation as they know if the country is secure, everything is safe, he said, adding their integrity and professionalism is respected and recognised not just by the whole country but by the entire world.
Addressing an Armed Forces Veterans' Day event at the Air Force Station in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Singh said it is a collective responsibility of the people to treat soldiers and their dependents as their own family members and ensure that they stand with them always.
He appealed to the people to further strengthen their will to honour the retired as well as the serving soldiers.
Singh interacted with the armed forces veterans attending the event and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to them for their selfless service to the motherland.
He emphasised that the veterans hold a special place in the heart of every Indian, according to an official statement.
"Our soldiers rise above family, caste and creed and only think about the nation. They effectively carry out their duties as they know for a fact that if the nation is secure, everything is safe. This gives them the moral strength to face every challenge," he said.
Singh reiterated the defence ministry's commitment towards the welfare of ex-servicemen.
From implementing the "one rank, one pension" scheme to providing healthcare and re-employment, the government led by Prime Minister Modi has been leaving no stone unturned to ensure the wellbeing of veterans, he said.
Singh said the bravery, integrity, professionalism and humanity of the Indian soldiers is respected and recognised not just by the whole country but by the entire world, according to the statement.
"The bravery of our soldiers who fought in the First and Second World Wars are remembered with respect across the globe. We, Indians, not only respect our own soldiers, but also those of other countries.
"In the 1971 war, more than 90,000 soldiers of Pakistan surrendered to India. We could have treated them in any way we wanted. But, such is our culture and tradition that we adopted a completely humanitarian attitude and sent them back to their country with full respect. Such treatment to enemy soldiers is one of the golden chapters of humanity," he said.
On the occasion, the defence minister laid a wreath at the War Memorial and paid homage to the heroes for their supreme sacrifice and dedicated service.
Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Maintenance Command Air Marshal Vibhas Pande and Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Kanpur Air Commodore M K Praveen were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
The Armed Forces Veterans' Day is celebrated on January 14 every year to recognise the service rendered by the first Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal K M Cariappa, who retired on this day in 1953.
The day was first celebrated in 2016 and it is marked every year since by hosting such interactive events in the honour of the ex-servicemen.
The Surya Command of the Indian Army celebrated the 8th Armed Forces Veterans' Day in Lucknow.
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lieutenant General Raja Subramani and veterans laid a wreath at the Smritika War Memorial, paying homage to those who laid down their lives for the nation.
Nearly 2,200 veer naaris, veterans, gallantry awardees, armed forces personnel and civil dignitaries attended the event.
Addressing the event, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak paid homage to armed forces veterans for their service to the nation.
He applauded the courage and valour of the Indian Army.
Pathak said that the armed forces have always given a befitting reply to any threat to the country's sovereignty.