I’ll be available round the clock for military priorities: Nirmala Sitharaman

Time & Us
Last Updated: September 8, 2017 at 12:25 am

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said her priority will be preparedness of the armed forces and giving them every equipment required to perform their duty.
India’s new defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday her top priorities would be military preparedness, developing weapons and systems under the Make in India initiative, welfare of soldiers and attending to long-pending issues.
Shortly after taking charge, she said: “My priority will definitely be the armed forces’ preparedness. It is important that Indian armed forces receive all attention in terms of giving them every endowment and equipment necessary for them to perform their duty.”
She said military priorities would be well attended to and she shall be available round-the-clock.
Her comments came at a time when the military is struggling to fill capability gaps with the induction of new fighters, submarines, helicopters, tanks, artillery guns and even assault rifles.
The military needs to scale up its capabilities swiftly to counter the threat of a two-front war with Pakistan and China. Underlining the need to stay prepared for such a scenario, army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said China had started flexing its muscles and Pakistan was likely to take advantage of the situation unfolding along the northern border.
Sitharaman is the first woman to be the full-time defence minister of the country after Indira Gandhi held the portfolio 35 years ago when she was prime minister.
Sitharaman said the Make in India initiative to cut dependence on weapon imports was important in the government’s scheme of things.
The minister said she would resolve pending defence-related issues in consultation with the Prime Minister and the cabinet committee on security.