Afghan Situation Raises New Questions: Rajnath

Says Militancy In Kashmir Will End Soon

Chandigarh: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that Jammu and Kashmir will soon see an end to militancy as Article-370 and Article-35 A fuelling separatism is over now.

"I believe that the remaining terrorism in Kashmir will also end. I have this belief because the strength and oxygen that the separatist forces used to get there due to Articles 370 and 35A are over now, said Singh.

He was addressing virtually the third Balramji Dass Tandon Memorial Lecture organised by Panjab University on the issue of national security.

He said the Modi government neither does politics nor allows it to happen on issues related to national security, and added that a free hand has been given to the security forces in performing their duties.

"How high the confidence and morale of the army and security forces can be guessed from the fact that in the last seven years, they have not allowed a single major terrorist incident in the hinterland of India, he said.

India is not only taking action against militancy within the borders of the country, the brave soldiers of our army have done the work of destroying terrorist hideouts by crossing the border if needed, he said, referring to the surgical strike after the Uri terror attack and the Balakot air strikes after the Pulwama attack.

"Today we can say that Pakistan-supported model of terrorism is getting demolished in India," he said.

Singh also said that there was a trust deficit between India and Pakistan and the country needed to be vigilant of this fact from the point of view of national security.

Singh said Pakistan had understood that they would not make any gains from violations of ceasefire agreements.

An agreement was signed between the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) of India and Pakistan to maintain ceasefire along the Line of Control in February this year, he said.

"We are also in wait and watch mode because the trust deficit between both the nations is a major problem, he said, adding that no ceasefire violation by the neighbouring nation has taken place ever since the agreement was signed.

Pakistan understands that it is not in position to do much in Kashmir, especially after the nullification of Article 370, he said.

He said Pakistan had suffered defeats in 1965 and 1971 wars and these defeats completely proved that it was not in a position to launch a full scale war against India.

The minister said the inability to wage a direct war against India forced Pakistan to work on two policies -- on the one hand, the neighbouring nation took steps towards finding an atomic way and on the other hand, it started working on the policy of giving 'death by thousand cuts' to India.

Pakistan had commenced a proxy war against India, allowing their land for providing training to terrorists, money and weapons to target India, he said, adding that after 1980s Pakistan had become the nursery of militancy in the whole world.

Speaking about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Defence Minister said that the current happenings in the war torn country have raised new security questions, adding that the government is alert and no anti-national force should be allowed to encourage “terrorism” from across the border by taking advantage of the situation.

He also asserted the central government is capable of dealing with any situation.

"What is happening in neighbouring Afghanistan is raising new questions in terms of security and our government is constantly monitoring the developments there," Singh said.

Along with the security of Indians, he said, "Our government also wants that anti-national forces do not encourage terrorism from across the border by taking advantage of the development there."

"We have some more concerns which can become challenges from the point of view of national security," he added.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a vexatious two-decade war. Earlier this week, an Islamic State suicide attack outside the Kabul airport killed over 180 people.

Singh said that the Narendra Modi government was alert and capable of dealing with any situation.

"We are always prepared to deal with threats arising from anywhere -- air, water and land, he said.

The defence minister laid stress on continuously upgrading and updating the national security system to face new challenges and said that some new threats have emerged because of the development of modern technology.

He referred to the dropping of two bombs using drone at the Jammu air force station earlier this year.

"We have to continuously update and upgrade the national security system for new challenges, said Singh.

He said the government's aim is to make the country prosperous, strong and secure. Such an India that does not scare anyone but develops a sense of security among small nations and that India's growing power is not a threat to them," he said.

‘Have Learnt A Lot From 1962 Sino-India War’

Rajnath Singh said that India wants a solution to the border dispute with China through dialogue and asserted that the government would never allow the sanctity of borders to be violated.

The Modi government has made it clear to the forces that any unilateral action on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) should not be ignored, he said.

Singh was delivering virtually the third Balramji Dass Tandon Memorial Lecture organised by Panjab University on the issue of national security.

The defence minister said that there have been perception differences on the border with China. Despite this, there are some agreements, protocols which the armies of both countries follow to conduct patrols. Referring to the clashes in eastern Ladakh last year, Singh said Chinese forces had ignored the agreed protocols.

We cannot allow the Chinese Army PLA to act on the LAC in a unilateral manner under any circumstances.

"That is what the Indian Army did that day in Galwan and bravely confronted the PLA soldiers and forced them to retreat, he said while terming it as a "historic" incident.

India wants a solution to the border dispute with China through dialogue, the defence minister said and asserted that the government will never compromise on issues of the "country's borders, its honour and self-respect".

We will never allow the sanctity of borders to be violated, he said.

Recalling the Galwan incident, he said the bravery, valour and restraint shown by the Indian Army are incomparable and unparalleled.

In the first deadly clash in the border area in nearly five decades, 20 Indian soldiers were killed on June 15 last year in the Galwan Valley in fierce hand-to-hand combat with Chinese troops, triggering a large deployment of troops and heavy weaponry by both armies at the friction points in eastern Ladakh.

In February, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army though it is widely believed that the death toll was higher.

In a significant forward movement towards the restoration of peace and tranquility in the region, the Indian and Chinese armies completed the disengagement process and restored the pre-standoff ground position in Gogra in eastern Ladakh after 15 months.

The development came after the 12th round of military talks between the two sides on July 31 at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier, the Indian and Chinese frontline troops had conducted the first synchronised disengagement at the south and north banks of the Pangong lake in February.

The Army is trained to press the trigger on seeing the movement of the enemy, but the Indian Army has shown both courage and restraint while working with great maturity, Rajnath Singh said.

He said despite this, questions were raised by some opposition leaders on the Army's capability.

The defence minister said India has learnt a lot from the 1962 war against China.

On improving infrastructure, he said that the Atal Tunnel project in Rohtang, which was on hold for a long time, was completed by the Modi government. This tunnel has strategic importance, he said.

The Border Roads Organisation is developing infrastructure projects and all-weather connectivity was being given to Ladakh, he said, adding work on several alternative roads has started.

The minister said it will also help the people who live in border areas as these people have strategic importance for us.

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