Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said India is very focused on dealing with external threats to its security and “anyone who causes trouble will not be spared”.
In an interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, the minister said that India has the capability to deal with any country having expansionist agenda.
“If a country is expansionist and tries to occupy our land, occupy a piece of our land, then India has the capability and power to not let its land go into anyone’s hand, whether it is any country of the world,” he said.
He was responding to a query about the expansionist goals of China.
The minister said that when he visited eastern Ladakh after the Galwan clash, the morale of soldiers was high. “The morale of our troops was and is high. The restraint, valour and bravery they have exhibited this time, the more it is praised, it is less,” he said.
Asked if there is a possibility of Galwan-like incident as China is not willing to pull back from the standoff in eastern Ladakh, he said the Army will not allow “the country’s pride to be dented”.
“What happened, I cannot say it freely as talks between the two countries are continuing. But the country’s pride has not been dented, that I can say with confidence. I feel if a soldier on the border listens to it, he will be able to say with pride that what our Defence Minister is saying is true,” he said.
Answering a query, about perception in some quarters about India being a soft state, he said India will not tolerate anything that hurts its self-respect.
“Soft does not mean that anyone can attack our pride and we sit and watch silently. India will not compromise on its pride.”
Asked about possible collusion between China and Pakistan about the challenges on the border in this year, the minister said he does not want to pre-empt anything about this.
“Our focus is absolutely on the one eye of the bird. If anyone causes trouble, we will not spare them. But our effort is to have good relations with all,” he said, in an apparent reference to an episode in Mahabharata.
Asked about the possibility of transgressions by China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in view of boost by it to its border infrastructure, he said there have been “perceptional difference” between India and China on the boundary.
“It would have been good if they had resolved earlier so that situations that are being created now would have not been created. The previous governments also tried but no solution came out,” he said.
The minister said it is true that China “has been doing maximum infrastructure development on its side”.
“India is also developing infrastructure at a fast pace for people at the border and for soldiers patrolling the border. We are not developing infrastructure to attack any country but if a solider goes for patrolling we have to care for providing him facilities as also to the residents in border areas,” he added.
Answering a query, the minister said he can say with confidence that the Indian troops have exhibited restraint, valour and bravery. “We all are proud of our Army,” he said.
The minister said he does not want to raise any question on any government in the past with regard to national security.
“I do not want to question previous governments but I can say that ever since Prime Narendra Modi took office, security has been a number one priority and the maximum facilities and power that we can provide to our defence forces, we are doing that,” he said.
“We have full faith in our government. Where they need to exhibit restraint, they do so. Where they need to show valour, they do so. There is no question of putting them to any limit. I am saying this from the bottom of my heart,” he added.
India and China have held several rounds of talks to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control but there has been status quo.
He said India has the capability to deal with challenges concerning cyberwar or hybrid war.