Paying tributes to fallen soldiers
Speaking at the Kargil Vijay Diwas to veterans and soldiers, Rajnath Singh, Union defence minister, said emphatically that, if India were provoked (he was clearly implying by Pakistan), it would not be deterred from crossing the Line of Control (LoC) and giving a fitting reply to any misadventure by its neighbour.
The statement is simultaneously both a bold reiteration that India, especially under the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would not be soft towards any wrongdoing by Pakistan, either militarily or through surrogate methods, like encouraging cross-border terrorism, as well as an encouragement to the morale of the armed forces.
The minister, who was not speaking along these lines for the first time, also invoked Indians’ patriotism and called upon the citizen to stand with the soldiers and support them if there were to be a war in the future.
This was especially significant because the event was an anniversary to celebrate the victory of the Indian forces over Pakistan in Kargil.
Paying his tributes to fallen soldiers, Mr Singh was strong in reiterating that the Modi government had given freedom to the Army to target the enemy for India’s security and safety, and this was going to be restricted to action within Indian territory alone. It is particularly significant in the context of the Kargil war because Indian forces did not cross the border and stopped right after evacuating the enemy forces from Indian soil.
“The government stands with the Army. On Kargil Vijay Diwas, I want to tell the people of my country that we will go to any extent for the esteem of the nation,” the minister remarked, the message being quickly shared by several of his Cabinet colleagues on the social media.
Clarifying on the dilemma of having to choose between peace, and fighting for one’s rights, he said, “We love peace and believe in Indian values. We are committed to international laws. But if the need arises, we will cross the LoC.”