Time to manufacture indigenous arms, says Narendra Modi

Speaking at a funtion to celebrate the cult song "Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon", Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for producing and supplying indigenious weapons for country's 1.3 million strong armed forces

Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said here on Monday that indigenous arms and weapons were needed to be manufactured for the country's armed forces with export potential in future.

Narendra Modi felicitates legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar for her song "Ae Mere Watan ke Logon" at Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. Pic: MiD DAY

"We should focus on producing indigenous firearms and weapons... It will not just add to our armoury, but the country will even be able to export them in the coming years," Modi said.

He spoke at the golden jubilee celebrations of the cult song, "Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon" penned by national poet Pradeep, as a tribute to the martyrs of the 1962 India-China War.

Modi joined Lata Mangeshkar, who had sung it for the first time Jan 27, 1963 -- and the 100,000-plus gathering -- in singing the patriotic number at the Mahalaxmi Race Course late Monday evening.

"It is sad our 'jawans' (soldiers) have to use foreign-made firearms while guarding the country's borders. Today, the war has changed... It is the proxy war that kills people," Modi observed.

He said engineering courses should be started to help manufacture indigenous arms and a war memorial be also constructed to remember those who sacrificed their lives to save the country.

"The song (by Pradeep), still rings in our hearts... It is because of the song that we remember our martyrs and our soldiers who guard the borders so we live in peace... Our soldiers also risk their lives in rescuing citizens trapped in calamities like the Uttarakhand disaster or the Gujarat earthquake," Modi said.

The function was organised by non-governmental organisation Shahid Gaurav Samiti.

Top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders from the state and elsewhere in the country were present at the function.

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