India will never cave in to external pressure or influence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated, emphasizing that a strong modern army is a crucial safeguard of national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The Armed Forces must be modernized and it is also our priority,” Modi said in a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the Kargil victory over Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that terrorism and proxy wars still pose a threat not only to India, but the entire world.

We will not succumb to any pressure or influence in the matters of national security… From deep sea to the infinite universe, India will use its competency to its fullest.

Recalling the widespread criticism India faced when it completed its nuclear triad by launching the INS Arihant nuclear-powered submarine in 2016, and concerns voiced more recently over the success of its anti-satellite interceptor missile test, Modi vowed to continue reforming the armed forces to keep up with modern threats.

India’s defense budget this year is US$49.7 billion, with a substantial portion distributed under the ‘Make In India’ national program. Other funds were channeled towards the purchase of French Rafale fighters, and Russian S-400 missile defense systems. India is also seeking to purchase additional warships and helicopters.

The S-400 deal has faced stiff opposition from Washington, which is seeking to capture India’s arms market, traditionally reliant on Soviet and Russian-made hardware. However, similar to Ankara, New Delhi has defied Washington’s pressure, stressing that national security is a priority, especially amid growing tensions with its nuclear-armed neighbor, Pakistan.

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