Effective deterrence cornerstone of defence policy: Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee

A force that can be deployed any time to protect sovereignty of the country is essential for effective deterrence which is the cornerstone of country's defence policy, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a function to present Presidential Standard to 25 and 33 Squadron of the Indian Air Force, Mukherjee said, "India stands for peace and its foreign policy is focused on the achievement of this objective.

"Therefore, effective deterrence is the cornerstone of our defence policy. But effective deterrence requires the maintenance of a force that can be called upon at any time, to secure the sovereignty of our nation. Our armed force, of which the men and the women who stand before us, symbolises, this capability," he said.

Lauding the role of Air Force, the President said the force has not only safeguarded sovereignty of the country but also been available for providing humanitarian assistance during disaster both within and outside the nation.

"I do remember that the Air Force had flown relief supply in 2005 to a place as far as the US when Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans. In 2008, the Indian Air Force flew relief supplies to earthquake hit South western Province of Sichuan in China," he said.

During the ceremony, Mukherjee inspected the parade participated by 56 officers and over 400 air men. The aircraft AN32 and Dornier in small boy formation gave a flypast to the Standard.

A Presidential Standard is a flag awarded by the head of the state to a military unit. It is one of the greatest honours bestowed upon a unit or squadron in recognition of exceptional service rendered by it to the nation, both in war and peace.

25 Squadron of the Indian Air Force, known as 'The Himalayan Eagles', has been the lifeline of the armed forces personnel and citizens in the Northern Frontiers for over five decades, in times of peace as well as war. The primary role of the Squadron is air maintenance in the northern sector.

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