Asia

India capable of giving much bigger blow to Pakistan than 1971: Rajnath Singh

MUMBAI (MAHARASHTRA): Amid repeated attempts by Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue on the global stage and win support for its cause, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that the neighbouring country should understand that today in India there is a government with strong resolve, which is capable of giving much bigger blow to it than in 1971.
"The nation can never forget the exceptional role the Navy played in 1971 war when Operation Trident and Operation Python broke the backbone of Pakistan Navy. Pakistan should understand that today with the government's strong resolve and advancement in naval capacity with additions like INS Khanderi, India is capable of giving a much bigger blow to it," he said.
Singh was addressing a gathering at the commissioning ceremony of indigenously built submarine INS Khanderi.
"We believe in peaceful and mutually beneficial co-existence with our neighbours," he said, adding that the government was deeply conscious of the requirements of the Armed Forces and remains committed to providing requisite focus and financial support for its modernisation.
Hitting out at Imran Khan for his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during which he raised the Kashmir issue, Singh said India's progressive steps in Jammu and Kashmir are receiving global support, while the Prime Minister of Pakistan is running door-to-door unsuccessfully.
"During the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US, President Donald Trump acknowledged the potential of the Indian government and was of the view that Modi is capable of handling Pakistan-based terrorism," he said.
Amid reports of the possibility of another 26/11-type attack on India's west coast, Singh said such plans will not succeed.
"Not just the security forces but every citizen of the country should stay alert and united to meet any future challenges. We have to be on the guard against state and non-state actors from across the border," he said.
He said that the Indian Navy will not pose any threat to any peace-loving nation but will build a sense of confidence and mutual trust with all big-small nations in the Indian Ocean Region.
"We need to safeguard the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean to maintain and promote peace and trade in the region. We care about the Indian Ocean and we will take strong action if anyone tries to disturb the peace," he said.
He said that the due impetus has been given for the timely acquisition of state-of-the-art weapons, sensors, and platforms, adding that the government has given more freedom and support to armed forces to make decisions in the nation's interest.
"We are committed to far-reaching changes in our defence preparedness," he said.
"You cannot buy a confident Navy. A confident Navy is always built by a confident government," he said, adding that the Indian Navy has the confidence which no other country in the Indian Ocean possesses.
Underlining the importance of Oceans in the development trajectory of a nation, he said, oceans are a gateway of opportunities as well as grave threats if the maritime forces are not alert.
He said that the Indian Navy should be the last men standing in the Indian Ocean Region.
Describing INS Khanderi as a 'potent combatant', Singh said it is a matter of great pride that India is one of the few countries capable of constructing their own submarine.
"The submarines not only benefit the industry but also help evolve a positive culture of stringent quality control and complex engineering. It brings plough-back benefits for the economy of the nation at large with significant contributions towards 'Make in India'," he said.
Singh termed the commissioning of INS Khanderi as yet another significant and historic step in showcasing the will and intent of the Government.
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