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September 15th, 2010

Strategic autonomy an article of faith for India: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing the Combined Commanders’ Conference 2010, in New Delhi on September 13

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing the Combined Commanders’ Conference 2010, in New Delhi on September 13.

“We have always prided ourselves on preserving our strategic autonomy, and this is an article of faith for us,” Dr. Singh told the Combined Commanders’Conference in New Delhi.

Excerpts from his address:

“The nation is proud of the selfless devotion to duty displayed by the officers and men and women in uniform and on behalf of the Nation, I convey our gratitude to each and everyone of you and your families.

The Indian Armed Forces are a hallmark of professionalism and national integration. Your contributions during times of natural disasters across the country, and most recently in Leh, have been invaluable. They have saved precious lives and brought relief and hope to the worst affected. In Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East you have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with civil authority to protect the Nation’s vital interests.

Our armed forces deserve the best and I wish to assure you that the government will make every effort to ensure this. No country can make progress without ensuring its security and territorial integrity. As our economy grows and our technological capabilities expand we must set higher standards for the modernisation of our defence forces. It is not enough for us to keep pace with change. When it comes to defence capability, we must be ahead of the technology curve. Defence modernisation, however, is a complex task. If it is to be effective it must involve the full chain starting with updating our war fighting doctrines to meet new threats to our security, preparation of appropriate staff quality requirements and creating a broad-based production and delivery infrastructure on the ground.

The other integral part of our defence preparedness is border infrastructure. This involves not just our land borders but also ensuring appropriate coastal security. Several measures have been taken and are underway but it is important that all ministries and departments work in close coordination to ensure timely implementation of existing plans. It is necessary to approach this task with a sense of urgency.

In the ultimate analysis the strength of a nation flows from the strength of its institutions, its values and its economic competitiveness. If India is looked upon today with respect and seen as a force for the future it is because of the stable and orderly fashion in which we are transforming the lives of our people. Transformation on such a scale, within the framework of a democratic and pluralistic society, has not been seen in the world before. If we succeed, our example will have repercussions for the new global order.

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Economy grows 8.8 percent in Q1

Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi meets British Immigration Minister Damian Green (New Delhi, Aug 25)

Fuelled by strong manufacturing and services industry results, the Indian economy reported an impressive 8.8 percent growth in the April-June 2010, the fastest growth in nine quarters. Although the agriculture sector was comparatively subdued this quarter, the scenario is expected to change in subsequent quarters on account of a healthy kharif sowing after a spell of good monsoon, say economists and government sources.

According to Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, job creation in the manufacturing sector is also expected to go up. “The numbers are quite encouraging.

The more encouraging point is 12.4 percent growth in the manufacturing sector. I do hope it will be possible to maintain this level of growth,” Mukherjee said.

According to Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, “The growth prospects are quite optimistic. It is led by remarkable performance of the manufacturing sector and that in itself speaks very well of the future. Such high quarterly growth in the manufacturing sector has happened only once in India, in 2006-07, and is quite an extraordinary achievement.”

However, the momentum is expected to slow down in the following quarters though, with analysts expecting moderation after the second quarter.

“Industry’s numbers are likely to moderate in the coming quarters, resulting in full-year growth of 8.4 percent,” said Rohini Malkani, an economist at Citi India. A contributing factor to the generous Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth numbers for the first quarter has also been the low-base effect.

“The overall GDP growth in this fiscal would be slightly better than 8.5 percent as projected earlier IIP (Index of Industarial Production) growth might moderate in the coming months on account of the base effect, but growth in agriculture will pick up as monsoon is good,” said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

The present growth has been in line with the expectations pegged by analysts and the government.

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