As the border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh enters the seventh month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said India wants peaceful resolution of differences but at the same time it is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of “unilateralism and aggression” no matter what the sacrifice. Speaking at a virtual seminar organised by the National Defence College on the occasion of its diamond jubilee, Singh also said that deterrence of war is important to achieve peace.
He said India believes that differences should not become disputes and is committed to respect various agreements and protocols that the country has entered into for maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the borders. Singh touched upon a wide range of issues of strategic significance including the evolving security challenges facing the nation and how the government is trying to enhance India’s overall combat capabilities.
“India has been facing other challenges on its borders. 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,” he said.
“We are committed to respect for various agreements and protocols that India has entered into for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity on our borders. However, India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unilateralism and aggression, no matter what the sacrifice.”
Singh’s comments came on the eve of the eighth round of high-level military talks between the armies of India and China on the border standoff.
On Pakistan, Singh said the neighbouring country continues to remain “adamant” on 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 added.
The Defence Minister said India has 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.
Singh said the armed forces have also ensured the defence of India’s borders and interests during the recent period despite “obvious challenges”, as a result of their well thought out policies, and the ability to continue with their operational responsibilities despite the pandemic.