India focused on building defence capability: President

    By IANS,

    Halwara (Punjab) : President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said India was focused on building capability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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    In his address after awarding Presidential Standards to two frontline fighter squadrons of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at this Air Force station near Ludhiana in Punjab, the president said the preparedness of the country’s armed forces gives Indians the confidence to face any aggression and safeguard the country’s interests.

    The president, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, said India was committed to peace in the region.

    Mukherjee awarded Presidential Standards to the 32 Squadron and 220 Squadron of the IAF at a ceremony here. IAF chief Air Chief Marshall N.A.K. Browne and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

    “The Standard for 220 Squadron was received by Group Captain Sharad Aneja, commanding officer, 220 Squadron, and the Standard for 32 Squadron was received by Group Captain G.V.N.K. Varma, commanding officer, 32 Squadron,” an IAF spokesman said.

    The 220 Squadron is known as “Desert Tigers”. It is the first SU-30 MKI squadron of the Western Air Command. The 32 Squadron is known as “Thunder Birds”. Both the squadrons had played important role during the 1965 and the 1971 wars against Pakistan.

    The ceremony saw a spectacular fly-past by various aircraft of the two squadrons.

    “The President’s Standards is the highest and most prestigious honour bestowed upon any unit of the armed forces in recognition of its invaluable contribution to the security of our nation both during hostilities and peace.

    “President’s Standards is a symbol of excellence and has been earned by the Squadrons for their dedication and worthy contributions,” the IAF spokesman said.

    Mukherjee said on the occasion: “As a responsible nation, India is firmly committed to peace and equality. The nation is striving hard for all-round economic growth and social empowerment of its citizens.

    “However, we remain equally focused on building the capacity to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our armed forces give us the confidence in the nation’s ability to face any aggression and safeguard its interests,” the president said.