President Vučić at Military High School: Next year the Serbian Armed Forces will be the strongest in the region
President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, accompanied by Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin, has visited the boarding premises of the Military High School which are under the first phase of reconstruction of accommodation capacities for which more than RSD 32 million was allocated. President Vučić inspected the dynamics and quality of the work and gave guidance on further steps towards improving the quality of education and living conditions of students of the Military High School and the Secondary Military Vocational School.
- Before the end of this year, Serbian citizens will be able to see major changes in the Serbian Armed Forces, above all in terms of technology, tools, weapons. Many of the things we are talking about will finally be in our possession, and citizens will be able to see how much our army is stronger and more powerful than it was before - the commander-in-chief said.
Speaking about the dynamics of development of the Serbian Armed Forces, President Vučić said that some important and significant steps have already been taken and that much more needs to be done.
- We can talk about that issue on three levels and what we need to do more. First, we invest today much more than we did before. Our military budget is not only 650 million, as it is written, because we earmarked another 350 million from other sources, so you can reckon that our military budget is about one billion, even more. For the country of our size and population number, is not little. It may be little compared to Israel that allocates 20 times more, but it is not little compared to other countries. I did not say it just like that, and you will be able to see it early next year: among the countries of similar human and material potentials and territories in the region, there is no stronger army than ours. But there are several problems. The first problem is human potential. We need to have many more children who will come to the Military High School and Military Academy, many more soldiers. We have the least problems in the south of Serbia, and most of the problems in the north - in Vojvodina and Belgrade, because of the salaries that are not large, and because of that, we will be increasing the salaries. But that is something we expected and by improving the standard of living of soldiers and police officers we will solve this problem. Second, we have a problem that our materiel is rather obsolete, it has not been renewed for decades, we continue to use old systems, it is difficult for us to accept new weapons because of so complex procedures that you would not believe, and when we de-birocratise the procedures and when we are ready to accept new weapons and tools, I am convinced that we will have much more success. And third, we in our society must change attitude towards soldiers and policemen because without them we would not have neither peace nor stability, the president said, adding that he expects to see in the future as many soldiers in uniforms on the streets as possible, because this will send a message to the citizens that they are safer and it will show the seriousness and honour of their profession. For such attitude, he added, the respective bonuses will be considered.
Vučić recalled that over the past three years, the funds spent on military are much higher than what was allocated from the budget in a way that does not jeopardize the functioning of the state. These funds, which come from the budget reserve and surplus, are spent, above all, on modernisation of the Serbian Armed Forces.
- Until yesterday, we did not have a single serviceable aircraft, I mean, the fighter aircraft. At the beginning of the next year we will have 14 of the most modern MiG's of fourth generation. The new six helicopters are to arrive from Airbus, we have bought two Mi-17s from the Russians, and we are going to buy combat and transport aircraft as well. So, we will have serious helicopter units and serious fighter aircraft units, and we will have 10 serviceable Eagle bombing aircraft. There are also surprises about which I am not going to speak yet - Vučić emphasized.
The renewal of military resources, according to the President of the Republic, is a process that will last for 10 years, after which our army will be a respectable military force. It is not weak even now, but it needs to be stronger, Vučić concluded.
The President of the Republic noted that the boarding premises of the Military High School, which has been in operation since 1970, have not been significantly invested in so far and that, very soon, the children living in it will feel significant improvements.
- So, we have not done anything or changed anything.for 48 years. This is our big mistake, of us as a nation and as a state, that we renew almost nothing and that we think that once we do something, new investments are not necessary. You saw the first phase of the works today and how accommodation for 80 students of the Military High School looks like. Everything is on a very high level, of which I am particularly proud, most of that was done by military personnel in Šabac. In fact, everything, except for the light bulbs and glass, was made within the Armed Forces - President Vučić said, adding that it was one of the most beautiful sports halls in which, as a child, he used to come “unsuccessfully trying to become a basketball player”.
- And nothing has changed since that period. Anyhow, other times have come, better times. I have seen here some young, responsible and serious people who count on their future. - Vučić said and added that after the first phase of the works, for which RSD 32 million were allocated, the second and the third will follow, after which the students of the Military High School will have exceptionally good living and working conditions.
He invited young men and women who want to become professional members of the Armed Forces to come to the Military High School and the Military Academy because they will be provided the best conditions for their education, and the state will try to adequately solve their housing needs through increasing their salaries and solving housing issues.
Vučić encouraged all commanding officers to continue to fight for children who study in military schools building their knowledge, even in a stronger and more energetic way, because just as it says here at the entrance to the High School “Knowledge is Our Weapon”. In that case, as he said, we will have no reason to worry about our future.
The Supreme Commander took the opportunity to meet with the students of the Military High School and the Secondary Military Vocational School, from whom he learned firsthand about the conditions in which they were educated and their living conditions. He expressed satisfaction that these children come from all over our country, even from Kosovo and Metohija.
- I wish all of you to be persistent and hard-working, to learn diligently because knowledge is the only thing that no one can take away from you. You can learn here something that you cannot find in other schools. Anyone may underestimate it, but you need to know that for yourself. Being taught to have responsibility, seriousness and discipline, which sometimes bother you, will be a great advantage for you in your lives. So, you have a great advantage over others to whom it seems as if their life is easier than that of yours. And that is why I ask you to be persistent, hard-working and to fight for yourself, for your parents, families, brothers and sisters to be proud of you, always supporting your country, not only when it is easy, but also when it is hard, not to belong to a generation that only yammers, complains and cries at everything around you, but to a generation that will change things that will rejoice, that will respect their country and love it more than anything else - the President of the Republic of Serbia told students of the Military High School and Secondary Military Vocational School.