Punjab Governor V.P.Singh Badnore on Friday inaugurated the 3rd edition of annual Military Literature Festival here envisaging that India would become self-reliant on manufacturing its own defence weapons with cutting edge technology.Kick-starting the biggest three-day Military extravaganza from December 13 to 15 with galaxy of military historians, serving and retired military officers, researchers, academicians, hundreds of school-children, authors and delegates from across the country & foreign shores, the Governor fondly remembered and paid tributes to the martyrs of Parliament attack, who made supreme sacrifice while defending the ‘temple of democracy’ on this day in 2001. The Governor said that our nation had come a long way since Independence in 1947, which was no longer dependent upon food or aid from abroad and in fact provide aid to other weaker nations. He said that we have had to rely upon war material from other countries but slowly, we aim to become self-reliant making our own weapon systems with cutting edge technology and already Rs 3,000 Cr worth of defence equipment was being made in India. “Make in India” for defence systems is no longer a mere slogan but a reality. Very soon we shall be fighting securing our nation with a totally indigenously designed and manufactured weapons and equipment inventory, he added.Badnore also lauded that one of the panel discussions during this festival is focussing upon the aforesaid issue and urged the defence manufacturers to utilise the platform provided by this event to make people aware of this reality; perhaps a defence and security exposition showcasing domestic and international weapons systems and equipment should become a part of this festival next year.
Describing the Military Literature Festival (MLF) a unique platform to acquaint students and youngsters with the rich and glorious past of country’s armed forces, the Governor recalled that he mooted the idea to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to start a literary festival, like Jaipur and other areas, in Chandigarh with an only focus on defence and war, which was accepted by the latter. The Military Literature Festival is an excellent way of informing citizens and the youth of India about the country’s Armed Forces, their discipline, culture, their sacrifices and unique unity in diversity for the good of the nation.Expressing gratitude to Captain Amarinder Singh, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Senior Advisor to CM Lt. Gen. T.S. Shergill and Western Command Headquarters to make two consecutive editions of this event a grand success in 2017 and 2018, the Governor said that the event would surely provide a healthy platform for children to acquaint themselves with the war stories besides an opportunity to interact with the veterans and serving officers.Referring to clan ‘Bhartas’ of ancient times residing on the banks of the river Parushni or Ravi, who had given the name Bharat to our nation, the Governor said that one can say that, ‘Punjab is Bharat and Bharat is Punjab’ for no other region had passed besides defending the country from internal as well as external aggressions. He said that despite several severe odds the brave people of this land rose out of their misfortunes and created the bread basket of India and also became its sword arm. He also termed it appropriate that MLF was founded in Punjab in the city of Chandigarh to organise discussions and displays cover a wide canvas of activities connected with the profession of arms ranging from painting, campaigns, strategic affairs, internal security and the military industrial base.Recalling the 150th years of birth of Mahatma Gandhi and 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Governor said that these occasions reminded us that the way of nations must be that of ‘ahimsa’ and a universal brotherhood where war is never an option.
But at the same time he was of the view that India, as a strong nation, was capable enough to deal with any kind of insurgence threatening peace, unity and integrity of the country from within or across borders. Our Armed Forces have demonstrated this with a `surgical strike’ in the mountains across the Line of Control and an air strike deep in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.Our country has exhibited that It was competent in reaching targets in space, are evolving our own global positioning system and have the ability to watch its frontiers and beyond with our satellite systems. We are in the process of making the Indian Ocean militarily safe for our country, secure our island territories and our maritime traffic, he added.He also reminded everyone that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War which the organising committee has commemorated with a review on the lessons learned during the conflict and how they’ve been implemented.Speaking about the Tri City of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, the Governor said that this is the home of an extensive military community, where four former Chiefs of the three Defence Services were residing along with several senior officers of armed forces. He said that on Defence Services Flag Day i.e. December 7, former Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force joined us in laying wreaths at the Chandigarh War Memorial. He said that during MLF in 2018 there was a footfall of about sixty-five thousand and hoped this number will continue to increase in the following years.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Charanjit Singh Channi expressed his gratitude to both the Governor VP Singh Badnore and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for conceptualising and organising this meaningful event with a view to apprising the younger generations about the glorious military legacy and its valour. He said that MLF was such an appropriate platform where youngsters were being inspired by the decorated officers of the Indian Army through a popular program of Children Samvad during the festival. He said that the children are not inspired, but also get familiar with the rich historical and cultural legacy of armed forces through these programs, he added.The Minister said that the State Government has already released an amount of Rs. 1.5 crore for organising this event. He said that the event would have three venues where 24 panel discussions would take place with the participation of renowned military writers, soldiers, thinkers, authors, adventurers, sportsmen, poets, artists, journalists, technocrats, documentary and film makers and military industrialists to share their experiences and expertise with each other and the general public.In his address, the GOC of Western Command Lt. General R P Singh said that it was matter of great pride and honour for all of us that we were fully involved and associated in the MLF right from its inception in 2017. He said that this festival would provide an opportunity to get an exposure adding new thoughts and ideas for strategy, security and diplomacy.The Senior Advisor to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Lt. General Tejinder Singh Shergill asserted that this MLF would go a long way in imbibing a spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst youngsters besides motivating them to opt for armed forces as career. Meanwhile, Subedar Major Yogendra Yadav was honoured by the Governor VP Singh Badnore.Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included ex-Chief of Army Staff General VP Malik, ex-Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, Former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, British Deputy High Commissioner in Chandigarh, Andrew Ayre, Canadian Consulate General Mia Yen besides a delegation from United Kingdom and Canada.