NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that India has determined to protect its sovereignty and integrity against unilateralism and aggression at any cost.
Rajnath Singh said, “India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unilateralism and aggression, no matter what the sacrifice.”
While highlighting the challenges along the borders, Singh said: “India is a peace-loving country. We believe that differences should not become disputes. We attach importance to the peaceful resolution of differences through dialogue. We are committed to respecting for various agreements and protocols that India has entered into for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity on our borders."
India and China are locked in a protracted tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh where China unilaterally tried to change the status quo.
The Defence Minister was speaking at the diamond jubilee function of the National Defence College, the highest seat of strategic learning in India.
The College was established in 1960 under the Ministry of Defence and has produced many strategic leaders and practitioners, not only from India but also from many friendly foreign countries.
Some of the alumni have risen to become heads of their respective countries, Armed Forces and many have occupied prominent positions of responsibility.
Speaking on the 73 years of independence, Rajanth Singh said that the most fundamental lesson behind the rise and fall of nations taught us was that peace cannot necessarily be achieved by the desire but by the ability to deter war.
“Unfortunately, the mere desire to seek peace, if not reciprocated by others, does not necessarily succeed in building a harmonious environment in a world beset by conflicting ideas of security, sovereignty, and national interests.”
India has brought about drastic changes in our security policy which are oriented towards strong, legally and morally tenable actions.
“We have proved that countries that employ terrorism as an instrument of national policy can also be deterred through options that were considered un-implementable in the past.”
Talking about the external environment, Rajnath Singh said, “India has fostered close relationships and partnerships with like-minded friends to further the common interests of countries in the region and beyond. Our strategic partnership with the U.S. is stronger than ever before. Similarly, India’s friendship has grown tremendously with Japan over the last few years as well. We share common concerns with Australia and shared values.”
Minister said, “India also has strong, traditional and deep-rooted relations with Russia. Our two countries have weathered many a challenge in the past through our close understanding and appreciation of each other’s concerns and interests. We continue to build upon our relationship with Russia and especially in the military sphere."
India has also forged a very special partnership with reliable friends such as France and Israel. “We value their support and will continue to build upon it in the future as well.”
The Defence Minister slammed Pakistan continuing to remain adamant in the use of terrorism as state policy.
“However, we have achieved substantial success in working with progressive and like-minded countries to not only expose Pakistan’s regressive policies but also make it increasingly difficult to continue with its previous business as usual approach,” he said.
Highlighting the evolving and changing character of war a large number of initiatives have been undertaken by us in the recent past in this regard.
“At the structural level, India has a more closely interlinked and coordinated security network. We have not only created the appointment of CDS and established the Department of Military Affairs, but are also in the process of further integrating the armed forces through both theatre and functional commands. Reforms have been initiated at the headquarters level within the Army and the MoD as well.” Minister said.