The border conflict with China is partly due to India's assertion of "ownership" of its territory, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Wednesday, holding that the analysis that China's recent aggression is meant to tell US president Donald Trump that it can do anything with its close ally is "valid".
Participating in an interactive session on the ''India-China border issue'' organised by RSS-affiliated weekly Panchjanya, he said India is not war-monger but will not settle for "peace of the graveyard".
"We want peace but we don't want peace of the graveyard, we want peace with self-respect," he said.
The neighbouring country has long followed a strategy of nibbling away into Indian territory, Mr Madhav said, adding that earlier governments often did not assert the country's claim over the territory that India believed to be on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"Now we are insisting on our ownership of the LAC as we perceive. We insist on our claims on the ground. This has been our policy. We are not letting them get away with construction in areas which we believe to be our territory. Now we do not turn around. We confront and push back," he said, speaking of the assertive policy of the Modi government.
China has border problems with 13-14 countries, and it believes in gaining territory with an element of "deception" while without waging a war, Mr Madhav said.
In case of peace-loving India, he said, China used to take advantage that the LAC is not demarcated and "we used to give them benefit of doubt".
Policy of China is to continue to encroaching territory without waging wars, Mr Madhav said, adding since India by nature is peace loving it only gets restless when violence occurs.
"After openly encroaching our territory from 1947 to 1962, what China continues to do gradually is nibble in our territory and gradually in systematic manner little by little took away Indian territory," he said, adding that now the government asserts India's claim over its territory.
It is the policy of Modi 2.0 to fight for every inch of India's land, he said.
He noted that there was an analysis in 1962 that China wanted to teach the USSR a lesson.
"Someone may today conclude why China is behaving like this because it wanted to tell President Trump that we can do anything to India, your close ally, close friend, and you cannot do anything. All these analyses are very valid," he said.
India's priority is to engage China proactively militarily and diplomatically to ensure that recent violent incidents are not repeated.
Equally important priority will be to assert its right over the last inch of its land, he said.
Mr Madhav said unlike other countries, God gave India everything but also gave neighbours like Pakistan and China and then took a dig at the Congress to add that God also gave an opposition like it when the country got Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm.
Taking on the Congress, he said when the party was in power it allowed "reverse Bhoodan (land donation)" by letting Pakistan and China walk away with its land.
Asserting that in past several decades, previous governments did not try to understand China from its thinking, Mr Madhav said despite governments under Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and HD Deve Gowda signed agreements with China, Beijing refused to acknowledge the LAC and was continually violating it.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)