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Hawkish on Pakistan, guarded on China

Rajnath's upbeat tenor on PoK gives way to caution on Line of Actual Control

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 14.06.20, 08:30 PM
Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Sunday

Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Sunday (PTI photo)

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday sought to needle Pakistan while adopting a cautious line on the border standoff with China, saying the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would soon be clamouring to join India.

The BJP veteran’s hawkish comment on Pakistan came at a time the Opposition has been demanding clarifications on the border situation in eastern Ladakh, especially whether China had transgressed into Indian territory.


“Just you wait, the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will soon raise a demand saying they want to be with India and not live under Pakistani rule,” Rajnath told an e-rally for Jammu, held as part of the second Narendra Modi government’s first anniversary celebrations.

“The day this happens, the goal of our Parliament will be fulfilled,” he added, alluding to a parliamentary resolution that recognises PoK as an integral part of India.

His upbeat tenor, however, gave way to caution and vague generalities as he moved on to the subject of the Line of Actual Control, where the Indian and Chinese armies have been locked in a standoff since early May.

Rajnath said China had expressed a wish to resolve the border dispute peacefully and that India wanted the same thing. Talks were on at the military and diplomatic levels, he added, mouthing the standard official position of the past few days.

“I want to assure everyone that we will not compromise with national pride under any circumstances. India is no longer a weak India,” the defence minister said.

He said the government would not hide anything and reveal everything at the right time.

Unlike their chest-thumping when it comes to Pakistan, the government and the BJP have largely been silent over the latest tensions with China.

Nor did Rajnath say anything about the rekindled territorial dispute with Nepal, whose claim over three contested areas has taken the government by surprise.

Instead, he celebrated the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status as one of the Modi government’s principal achievements.

With the region now becoming a Union Territory, Rajnath said, the Centre was undertaking a rash of development projects that would spur PoK residents to want to return to Indian rule.

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