Amid tensions with Pakistan over terrorism, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said India is ‘definitely’ for peace, but asserted he is not a ‘coward’ who will compromise on security in fear of a war. “We are definitely for peace. This country has never in its history strived for war. But those who compromise in fear of war are called cowards and I do not intend to call myself a coward,” he said.
Speaking at the Agenda Aaj Tak, he added, “I am very clear that many a time peace is established by a strong country.” Parrikar, who has often stressed the need for greater military might arguing it becomes a ‘detrimental factor’, underlined that ‘national security should be paramount’.
He said one should be willing to go back on their own words in case of national security but stressed that international commitments have to be met.
When tension escalates (on the border), Indian jawans also die even if more damage is caused to the other country, Parrikar said, adding that no one likes loss of lives. Stating that the recent surgical strikes carried out by India across LoC led to ‘unpredictability’ in Pakistan’s mind, the Defence Minister pointed out that he only took credit for “taking a decision” and never for the operation.
He said action by the Army at the LoC forces the ‘other side’ to reach out and talk, which has now brought down the ceasefire violations.
In the aftermath of a firing blizzard by the Indian Army, the Pakistan’s Director General of Military Operations had reached out to his Indian counterpart on November 23. Following the talks, the ceasefire violations have drastically come down along the LoC.
Parrikar said he had to personally take a number of decisions on military modernisation that has been pending for years, besides working out the financial outlay required to fund it.