India’s bold approach on issues like border disputes and cross-border terrorism has made the country stronger in recent times, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Singh’s remark came a day after New Delhi blamed China’s “provocative behaviour” and unilateral attempts to alter status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for disruption of bilateral ties, in response to Beijing’s contention the Indian side was responsible for the Galwan Valley clash between the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army.
During the clash, the Indian Army lost 20 soldiers including a commanding officer. The PLA has only acknowledged four deaths in its ranks though unofficial numbers were quite high. The military standoff in eastern Ladakh is yet to be resolved as both sides are yet to complete disengage in some of the friction points.
“The bold approach of the government on issues like border disputes and cross-border terrorism has made India stronger in the recent past and it has now assumed a greater global role and responsibility,” Rajnath Singh said while addressing the convocation ceremony of the 59th National Defence College (NDC) course in New Delhi.
The NDC is the highest seat of strategic learning in the country. Of the 3,999 alumni, many have risen to become heads of their respective countries and their armed forces, and have served with distinction. The current king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk is an alumnus of NDC, as is National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
Rajnath Singh reiterated that India is a peace-loving nation, but will give a befitting reply to anyone who threatens its integrity and sovereignty. “Threats to internal and external security will no longer be tolerated. Our actions in Balakot and Galwan are clear signals to all aggressors,” he said.
Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, Singh said that the developments have highlighted the reality of our times. “The only certainty about evolving geopolitics is its uncertainty. Changes in state boundaries may not be as frequent today. However, the fast-transforming structure of states and the influence that external powers can have on it is clearly evident,” he said.
He emphasised on the need to draw lessons from the situation in Afghanistan, far beyond the immediate reverberations being felt in the region and beyond.
The defence minister added that today, the world is witness to the destabilising effects of terrorism and the especially dangerous precedence of violent radical forces attempting to gain legitimacy by creating a new normal.
Referring to the phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family), Singh stressed on the urgent need to create a unified approach to deal with threats both within the country and globally. He said, be it against terrorism or cyber challenges, success can only come by unifying national diversities.