"Confident That Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir Will Merge With India": Rajnath Singh

He expressed confidence that the people of PoK will merge with India.

'Confident That Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir Will Merge With India': Rajnath Singh

He asserted that India will tackle any threat that arises from China (File)

New Delhi:

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the people of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) are themselves raising the demand for a merger with India. He expressed confidence that the people of PoK will merge with India.

Asked about Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's recent remarks about Kashmir, Rajnath Singh said, "Can they ever take Kashmir? They should be worried about Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. I had said almost one and a half years ago that there will be no need for us to attack and occupy because a situation is developing there that people of PoK themselves are demanding merger with India."

On being asked whether the government was making any plan, he responded, "I will not say anything more, I should not. We are not going to attack any country. India has a character of never attacking any country in the world, nor has it occupied an inch of other's territory. But PoK was ours, PoK is ours, and I am confident that PoK will itself merge with India." Mr Singh made the comments during the 'AAP ki Adalat' programme on India TV.

Earlier in February, a political activist from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Amjad Ayub Mirza, had claimed that the people in PoK are fed up with Pakistani occupation and they are now demanding merger with India.

In a video released by him, activist Mirza said, "The people of PoK in the last few days have told me that they now demand to be merged into India, as they are officially their citizens".

"The recent elections in Pakistan have just given us a fractured mandate. The upcoming elections will have a fruitful result for India but we the people of PoK ask that, for how long will we have to wait to get rid of Pakistan's oppression and get merged in India?" the PoK activist added.

He stated that India has a character of never attacking any nation and not occupying anyone's land. However, he asserted that India will give a befitting response if its prestige is attacked by anyone.

Asked about a possible scenario where China attacks India, Rajnath Singh said, "God should give them the good sense not to commit such mistakes. India has a character of never attacking any country, but if any country attacks us, we do not spare them. But the truth is that if anyone asks us, we have good relations with all our neighbours."

"We want to maintain ties but not at the cost of India's self-respect. But if any country attacks India's prestige, it has the power to give it a befitting reply. We want to have good relations with neighbours because Atal ji used to say that we should keep in mind that we can change friends in life but neighbours never change," he added.

He underlined that India will tackle any threat that arises from China, adding that the country has become a powerful nation in the world.

On being asked whether there was any threat from China now, the Defence Minister said, "We will tackle if any threat arises, what's there in it. But, we cannot sit holding our heads in hands thinking about the threat. If the threat arises, it will be tackled. India is no more a weak country. India has become a powerful country in the world."

On Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's allegation that China has occupied nearly 2,000 square kilometres of India's territory, he expressed sadness over his remarks and stated that he does not want to remind him about the activities China did in 1962.

He said, "I am feeling really sad that he is questioning the valour of our jawans. He should not be making such remarks. How much territory was occupied by China in 1962 and what activities have been done by China. I do not want to remind him and do not talk about it. Rest assured, today, we can say that we will not like to lose even an inch of our territory. I cannot disclose much about the details because India and China are engaged in talks, and the talks are going on in a right manner. Talks are going on in a cordial atmosphere. Otherwise, I would have disclosed more details. Please do not compel me to disclose more. I cannot disclose much."

Earlier in February, India and China held the 21st round of Corps Commander level meeting on Monday at the Chushul-Moldo border to defuse tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The two nations have been engaged in a standoff since April-May 2020 over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs, and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June 2020.

Praising the bravery of India's defence personnel, he stated, "I just want to say that whatever happened with China this time too, I feel proud of the courage shown by soldiers of Indian Army, Air Force and Navy personnel. There are many such incidents that if countrymen are made aware of about the army of our country, their respect will increase further."

Recalling the fight between India and China in Galwan, he stated that India's soldiers did not fire a single shot and instead were engaged in a physical combat. He said India lost 20 soldiers during the fight. However, China did not disclose information regarding their soldiers.

He said, "You have seen what happened in Galwan during our fight with China, our brave jawans did not fire a single shot, they were engaged in physical combat. 20 of our jawans were killed, and how many Chinese soldiers were killed? I am not saying, but foreign agency reports say 35 to 40 Chinese soldiers were killed in the clashes. We have not said anything related to China. We have accepted it that 20 of our jawans were killed."

He noted that "It is true that China is carrying out infrastructure development near Line of Control at a fast pace since a long time." He further said that Defence Minister during Congress government asked not to develop infrastructure on India-China border. He stated that India has started developing infrastructure at a fast pace after the Modi-led government came to power.

During Congress government, Defence Minister said that if we develop infrastructure on the India-China border, China will enter India, so do not develop infrastructure. After the Modi government came to power, we have also started developing infrastructure at a fast speed on border."

Refuting Rahul Gandhi's claims that PM Narendra Modi fears China, he responded, "I am surprised when somebody says Modiji Darte Hain. It is not in his nature to be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. The problem is these people do not understand. Why are they raising questions about India's strength and valour".

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)