CHANDIGARH: Describing himself as a ‘hardliner’ and a ‘soldier’, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday called for a zero compromise policy by India against hostile forces across the border. Reacting to the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, Amarinder said India’s response should be clear and unequivocal. “We should stop being a gentleman’s army. If they (Pakistan) cut one of our heads, we should cut three of theirs,” he said.
Amarinder came out in categorical support of Major Gagoi over his controversial ‘human shield’ action during the elections in Kashmir, saying the officer was being pelted with stones and what he did in the circumstances was absolutely correct. “Instead of being patted on the back, he is being hounded for saving his men.”
Peace is only possible if the government writ runs large, said Amarinder, making it clear that he did not favour negotiations in Jammu and Kashmir till the Indian Army had an upper hand. While he did not blame the Prime Minister for the spiraling violence in Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir, he asserted
that the nation needed a full-time defence minister. “India needs to build its defences, especially with China making inroads through land and sea. Our weaponisation has to improve if we are to counter the various cross-border threats effectively”, he added.
The chief minister said that the CRPF, which was recently the victim of one of the worst-ever Naxal assaults in Chhatisgarh, was not trained properly and did not have sufficient experience to tackle such situations. Expressing grief over the unnecessary loss of lives in the attack, he urged the CRPF to look into the matter and address the various concerns affecting the CRPF.
Responding to a question, he said that he was sure that if a war-like situation developed in the country, all political parties, cutting party lines, would come together against the common enemy.
On the Khalistani threats, he said, “If they have the guts they should come and speak here instead of misleading people with unsubstantiated statements elsewhere. They can shout their heads off, who cares? We want a stable Punjab, we want development.”
Responding to a question about his charges against Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, he said his job was to raise issues and he wanted to bring big investments in the state, which required peace and stability. He reiterated that Sajjan and several other Canadian parliamentarians had Khalistani leanings and were sympathizing with people who wanted to disturb the peace of Punjab, which could not be allowed at any cost.