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India committed to modernisation of armed forces: President

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) India has accorded the highest priority to modernising the armed forces to defend its borders, President Pratibha Patil said Monday.

‘The nation is proud of our armed forces. They have distinguished themselves in preserving the country’s unity and territorial integrity and in defending our borders,’ the president said while addressing the joint session of parliament.

‘Government is fully committed to the modernisation of the armed forces. We will accord the highest priority to modernisation programmes to equip our armed forces with the required weaponry, equipment and platforms,’ she said.

The successful launch of the Agni-III missile, she said, is a shining example of the capabilities of Indian scientists and engineers who deserve full praise, Patil said.

‘Efforts to enhance our technological self-reliance received a new impetus with the commencement of the handing over the main battle tank, Arjun, to the Indian Army,’ the president said.

‘My government is committed to the welfare of servicemen and ex-servicemen. An Armed Forces Tribunal has been established for adjudication of complaints and disputes regarding service matters and other appeals. The recommendations regarding substantial improvements in the pensionary benefits of personnel below officers rank and commissioned officers have been accepted,’ she added.

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