Addressing a security conclave at the University of Jammu, Singh said: “Bharat ab pehle jaisa Bharat nahi raha. Bharat takatwar banta jaa raha hai. Zaroorat padi to Bharat seema ke iss par bhi maar sakta hai aur zaroorat padi toh uss paar bhi jaa sakta hai (India is not the same as it used to be.It is getting more powerful. If needed, India can hit on this side of the border and can go across the border as well.”
‘We showed world what zero tolerance means’
In a veiled warning to Pakistan, he asserted that India has taken major action against terrorism under the Modi government, and referred to the surgical strikes carried out across the border in 2016 and the 2019 Balakot air strike.
“Under PM Modi’s leadership, our government started effective action against terrorism and for the first time not only the country but also the world came to know what is the meaning of zero tolerance against terrorism,” he said.
He added that PM Modi took just 10 minutes to decide on the surgical strikes.
“Pulwama and Uri were both unfortunate incidents … The PM took just 10 minutes to take a decision (on carrying out surgical strikes) which shows his strong will power. Our forces not only neutralised the terrorists on this side, but also went across the border to finish them,” he said.
Terrorists attacked an army camp in border town of Uri in September 2016, resulting in the deaths of 19 soldiers. A fortnight later, the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike across the border and destroyed launch pads for terrorists. In February 2019, over 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack on their convoy by terrorists in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. Twelve days after the attack, the Indian Air Force destroyed the terrorist camp in Balakot in Pakistan.
Waiting to lift AFSPA in J&K: Rajnath
Stating that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) had been removed from large parts of the northeast, the defence minister said he was waiting for “permanent peace” in Jammu and Kashmir so it could be removed from the union territory as well.
Without naming Pakistan, Singh said countries using terrorism as a state policy have to understand “very well that this game will not last long”.
“Today, most of the big countries of the world are united against terrorism,” he said, adding the joint statement issued recently by PM Modi and US President Joe Biden clearly shows how India has changed the mindset of the whole world on the issue of terrorism.
“It has been clearly stated in this Joint Statement that there should be concerted action against the UN listed terrorist organisations, which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen. It has also been said in this joint statement that Pakistan should put a stop to every terrorist act taking place in its territory and should not allow its land to be used for this,” he said, adding Pakistan was also asked to take action against those behind the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
‘2020 standoff arose as China ignored protocols’
On tensions with China, the minister said that the 2020 military standoff in east Ladakh arose because Chinese forces ignored “agreed protocols”.
The minister said that despite “perception differences” with China, there are some agreements and protocols that are followed by the armies of both countries to patrol the borders. “The reason for the dispute that arose in East Ladakh in the year 2020 was that the Chinese forces ignored the agreed upon protocols. Chinese Army PLA tried to make some changes along the LAC in a unilateral manner which was thwarted by Indian troops,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)