Seven retired officers of the armed forces, including two former deputy chiefs of the Army, joined the BJP on Saturday in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Welcoming them into the party, Sitharaman said the presence of such senior ex-servicemen who have served the nation would benefit the BJP.

“They can guide (the party) on policies on national security and nation building,” she told reporters in New Delhi.

Lt. Gen JBS Yadav and Lt. Gen SK Patyal, the former deputy chiefs of the Army, were among those who joined the party.

“Ex-soldiers too want to serve the country. We may have retired but we are not tired,” Yadav told reporters in New Delhi. He said the country is in “safe and able hands” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Former director general of military intelligence Lt. Gen RN Singh, former director general of the Army’s information services and IT Lt. Gen Sunit Kumar, and Lt. Gen Nitin Kohli, who has served as the signal officer-in-chief at the Army headquarters, also joined the party.

Colonel RK Tripathi and Wing Commander (retd) Navneet Magon, a former Air Force medical services doctor, also joined the BJP.

Several Army veterans had earlier joined the party.

Earlier this month, Former vice chief of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Chand had joined the BJP. He had retired as vice chief of Indian Army on June 1 last year.

Besides the military veterans, several celebrities, including film stars and sportspersons, have joined the BJP since the announcement of the dates of the parliamentary polls by the Election Commission.

Latest high-profile entry into the BJP includes film star Sunny Deol.

The party has fielded Deol from Gurdaspur in Punjab and cricketer Gautam Gambhir from east Delhi in the Lok Sabha election.