Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky - Photo: Facebook

Defence Minister: Shared remembrance a recommitment to nation’s defence

A shared remembrance "of our past allows us to recommit ourselves to continuing the thousand-year journey in defense of the Hungarian nation", the defence minister said marking National Defence Day on Tuesday.

“Looking into the past, we see huge military achievements, such as the thousand-year-old state of St. Stephen, whose military heroes made surviving through victories and defeats possible…” Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at the ceremony in Buda Castle.

“And then there’s the Hungarian Armed Forces established at the birth of the modern Hungarian nation, which has been at the service of the nation in times of peace, war, oppression and freedom.”

He said it was up to the government and diplomacy to ensure that the most important decisions in the life of the nation were still made in the nation’s capital.

“But in these times we have to be especially careful that nothing that goes against our fundamental national interests can be forced on us,” he said, emphasising that defence played an important part in this.

Hungary, he said, had reason to be satisfied with its accomplishments in recent years, noting that it was building a high-tech military, and defence spending now exceeded 2 percent of GDP. He noted the newly-built defence industry plants, the manufacturing of Lynx armoured infantry fighting vehicles in Zalaegerszeg, small arms in Kiskunfelegyhaza, Airbus helicopters in Gyula, the ammunition plant in Varpalota, and the production of Turkish Gidran armoured fighting vehicles in Gyor.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said the military upgrade was under way but there was still more to be done, and serious efforts were needed “to prepare for everything we can be presented with in such times of war”. He said Hungary had to be capable of giving the right response to every challenge.

Hungary has observed National Defence Day since May 21, 1992 to commemorate the retaking of Buda Castle on this day in 1849 after a three-week-long siege.

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