In a clear message to both China and Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today declared India’s commitment to resolve issues with neighbouring countries through peaceful talks but made it clear that the Indian armed forces were fully geared to meet any challenge from their adversaries.
“India is a peace-loving nation that never resorts to any kind of aggression. At the same time, it is always prepared to give a befitting reply, if provoked,” he asserted while interacting with the officers and jawans of the Indian Army’s 14 Corps at Karu Military Station in Ladakh.
Singh’s comments came even as Indian and Chinese troops remained locked in a tense stand-off at Eastern Ladakh despite all attempts by India to persuade the Chinese side to complete the disengagement process at all friction points in the Pangong Tso Lake area.
The defence minister noted that India has used weapons only for establishing peace and not to attack anyone or occupy anybody’s territory.
He assured the people that the nation’s safety and security shall not be compromised at any cost. Singh, who is accompanied by Chief of the Army staff M M Naravane during his three-day visit to the region to review the country’s defence preparedness, paid rich tributes to the Indian jawans who lost their lives in the clash with Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on 15 June, last year.
“The nation will never forget their martyrdom,” he said.
He also commended the 14th Corps for their invaluable contribution during the 1965 Indo-Pak War as well as the 1999 Kargil operation. Singh also dedicated to the nation 63 bridges, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), in six states and two UTs. From Kyungam, the defence minister inaugurated a 50- metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh.