Stating that India was situated at the strategic crossroads of Asia and astride one of busiest sea lanes of the world, the prime minister said: "It is imperative that the country's defence professionals remain abreast of the complex environment we face and the avenues that are available as a result of the enormous transition taking place in India."
He was addressing the gathering after laying the foundation stone for the Indian National Defence University (INDU) in Binola, Gurgaon, near the Indian capital.
"India faces entire spectrum of security challenges and this is inevitable as we live in a difficult neighbourhood which holds the full range of conventional, strategic and non-traditional challenges," he said.
He said this was a moment of history when the world is witnessing change on a scale and at a speed rarely seen before.
"Nowhere is this change more pronounced than in Asia, where we are witnessing multiple security challenges on account of the intersection of fragile states, internal conflicts, proliferation of arms and terrorist groups," he said.
"Taken together these challenges and opportunities should prompt reorientation of our strategic thinking and a reappraisal of our highest defence organisation," he said.
India's security, the prime minister said, had never been stronger than it was today and our international relationships have never been more conducive to our national development efforts.
He said the government was making defence acquisition less vulnerable to unethical practices and had made policies to ensure that the armed forces have the best equipment.
"We have been guided by the objective of making defence acquisition transparent, smooth, efficient and less vulnerable to unethical practices. We will continue to seek the highest standards of the probity in defence acquisition," he said.
Laying emphasis on indigenisation of defence procurement, Manmohan Singh said: "Our government is committed to taking further steps to stimulate the development of our domestic defence industry, including the Indian private sector."
The defence university, Manmohan Singh said, would be a unique autonomous institution of national importance.
"It is meant to ensure that the country, government armed forces benefit from the best military advise that is available. It is also meant to provide our defence professionals with a deep understanding of the interplay between all attributes of national power," he added.
--IANS (Posted on 23-05-2013)