India has gained new strategic strength in recent years and its borders are now more secure than ever, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday even as he highlighted efforts to modernise the military and make it "young and battle ready" to confront future challenges. In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort,

Modi also reiterated his government's unwavering resolve to ensure national security amid the current global security scenario.

"India has gained a new strategic strength in recent years and today our borders are more secure than ever," Modi said.

He said a number of military reforms are being undertaken to modernise the armed forces and make them young and battle ready to deal with the future challenges.

The government last year rolled out the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the short-term induction of soldiers. The scheme is aimed at bringing down the age profile of the three services.

Under the Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14 last year, the three services are recruiting youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 for four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.

For 2022, the upper age limit was extended to 23 years. The prime minister also emphasised that the people of the country feel safe today as there has been a drastic decline in the number of terrorist attacks. When the country is peaceful and secure, new goals of development are achieved, he said.

The prime minister also referred to the 'One Rank One Pension' scheme and said it was implemented by his government as soon as it came to power.

"The OROP was a matter of respect for the soldiers of our country. We implemented it when we came to power. Rs 70,000 crore have reached the ex-servicemen and their families today," he added.

Modi extended the Independence Day wishes to the Armed Forces personnel at the borders, who ensure that the country is secured and its interests are safeguarded.

In the last few years, the government has taken a series of measures to bolster the combat capabilities of the armed forces.

A series of initiatives were taken to enhance the country's military prowess following the border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

The government has also been focusing on strengthening the border infrastructure in the last few years.

On Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India has always been a peace-loving nation, but that does not mean that it would spare those who cast an evil eye on it.

In his address, Modi also referred to the Vibrant village programme.

"We have started a program of Vibrant Border Village in the border villages of our country. Till now the vibrant border village was said to be the last village of the country," he said.

"We have changed the whole thinking. It is not the last village of the country, the one visible on the border is the first village of my country," he added.