At a time when India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are embroiled in a border standoff at multiple junctures across the McMahon Line, Union Minster Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the Armed Forces are combat ready to meet any challenge to India’s security from any adversary. Jaitley went on to comment that the people of India have a ‘predominant wish’ to retrieve parts of Jammu & Kashmir of India occupied by Pakistan in the aftermath of 1948 Indo-Pak War.
Speaking during a special House debate to mark the 75th anniversary of Quit India Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 to liberate India from the colonial British rule, Jaitley said India had faced many challenges in the past but “we can proudly say the country became stronger with each challenge”.
“I agree that some challenges are still there. Some people are targeting our country’s sovereignty and integrity. But I am fully confident that our brave soldiers have the capability to keep our country secure, may it be challenges on the eastern border or the western border,” Jaitley remarked.
He said that India had “learnt a lesson” from the 1962 war with China. “The armed forces will have be made fully capable on our own because even today the nation faces challenges from our neighbouring countries”, Jaitley was quoted as saying in the Rajya Sabha.
Compared to 1962, the armed forces became stronger in 1965 and 1971 wars, Jaitley added. “The armed forces can give any kind of sacrifice for the security of the nation,” the Defence Minister asserted.
Talking about the Indo-Pak war of 1948, Jaitley said: “Initially (after Independence), we faced a crisis. Our neighbour had an eye on Kashmir. Even today, we cannot forget that a part of the country has got separated. It is a wish of every Indian today as to how to retrieve that part.”
Arun Jaitley emphasised the need for liberating the country from all kinds of violence, be it in the name terrorism, politics or religion. Jaitley said the country is facing a bigger challenge from terrorism and ‘Left-wing extremism’.
Referring to the assassinations of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said a prime minister and a former prime minister lost their lives because of terrorism. Jaitley said that the security forces, including Army, CRPF (Central Reserved Police Force) and Jammu and Kashmir police have contributed a lot in the battle against terrorists in J&K, though some incidents still take place.