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India committed to taking care of its armed forces’ veterans: Ambassador Sandhu

Recognising the services of Indian armed forces' veterans, the Indian Embassy here organised 'Varishtha Yoddha', an event to honour these ex-servicemen.

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India committed to taking care of its armed forces' veterans: Ambassador Sandhu

India is committed to taking care of its armed forces’ veterans in the same way as they have taken care of the security of the country, India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said as he felicitated the ex-servicemen living in America, including those who fought in the Kargil war.

Recognising the services of Indian armed forces’ veterans, the Indian Embassy here organised ‘Varishtha Yoddha’, an event to honour these ex-servicemen.

More than 140 people, including some distinguished veterans who had fought in various wars and their families, attended the event here on Sunday, a day ahead of the Independence Day of the United States. ”As India marks 75 years of Independence, privileged to host & felicitate Veterans of Indian Armed Forces in the US & families today. Their devotion & dedication shaped India’s Defence & Security and is now shaping the India- US partnership,” Sandhu tweeted.

Addressing the event, Sandhu said: “Friends, you have served and sacrificed for mother India, with the utmost sense of duty and selflessness. You and your family members as a part of the 4 million-strong Indian community are instrumental in strengthening India-US ties across a diversity of sectors,” Sandhu said.

“We remain committed to taking care of our veterans in the same way as they have taken care of the security of our country,” he said.

Sandhu said it was a matter of pride, privilege and honour for him to be a part of the special gathering.

“While no recognition and award can do justice to your contributions, today’s event in a small way expresses our respect and gratitude and tells you that we are here for you,” he said in his admiration for the veterans. ”There are people in this room, who have fought for India in 1948, 1962, 1965 or 1971, 1985, the Kargil war in 1999 and in numerous other operations,” he said.

“Today’s Varishtha Yoddha event is our humble effort to recognise the sacrifice and service of our veterans and honour them for their patriotism, dedication and willingness to serve and sacrifice all for the nation.” Sandhu said Indian veterans, wherever they go, carry the highest standards of duty, discipline and professionalism for which Indian armed forces are known.

“Our veterans living in the USA remains the flag-bearers of the traditions of our armed forces and continue to inspire the Indian community,” he said.

The India-US strategic partnership is enriched by their wisdom, hard work and high moral values, he added.

In his address, Sandhu said the defence partnership between the US and India has been instrumental in intensifying a variety of pacts between them, including those related to sharing of defence technology and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy.

India has been designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ by the US and conducts more military exercises with the US than with any other country.

Currently, an Indian naval contingent, including a naval ship, is in Hawaii to participate in the RIMPAC naval exercise, Sandhu told the veterans.

Over the last decade, he said, India has procured defence-related acquisitions from the US worth over USD 20 billion.

“Today, Indian forces are operating US defence platforms, including transport planes, helicopters, howitzers, ships and a number of other light equipment many of which have been fully deployed in operational and humanitarian uses, including during the COVID pandemic to deliver aid and transport medical supplies,” said the Indian envoy.

“In line with ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, we are moving forward leveraging our comparative advantages and the opportunity for defence industrial collaboration, especially to innovate, co-develop and co-produce for India and for the world,” he said.

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