- Rajnath Singh said Imran Khan should stop talking about Kashmir
- Mr Singh, in a swipe at Pakistan, said can send Army to fight terrorism
- Ties between India and Pakistan severely strained
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday took a swipe at Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan over not doing enough to act against terrorists roaming freely on its soil. The Defence Minister, while suggesting a solution to Pakistan that involves India's intervention, also dropped in a word of advice to the Pakistani Prime Minister, who on Sunday reached Iran following a request from the US and Saudi Arabia for him to try to defuse rising tensions in the Gulf.
"I would like to make a suggestion to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. If you are serious enough to fight against terror, we are ready to assist you. If you want our Army, then we will send them there for your help," Mr Singh said at a rally in Karnal in Haryana, where the assembly election will be held on October 21. Results will be out three days later.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been severely strained since the start of this year after a suicide attack claimed by the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir in February. India responded with an airstrike in Pakistan's Balakot.
Months later, the government scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories. Since then Pakistan has been raising the Kashmir issue in international forums. Recent reports say the Pakistani military has started arming and training more terrorists to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir and create trouble.
At the rally in Haryana, the Defence Minister said the Pakistani Prime Minister's remarks about Kashmir carry no weight. Referring to Kashmir as a possible flashpoint, Mr Khan had given a volatile speech warning India and the world of the runaway consequences of nuclear war at the United Nations General Assembly last month. In contrast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focussed his speech on global development and peace.
"I was listening to Imran Khan's speech where he had said that till Kashmir gets freedom, we will continue our fight over it. He also said that his country will continue to raise the Kashmir issue at international forums. Forget about Kashmir. Don't even think about it. Raise the matter, nothing will happen. No one can exert pressure on us," Mr Singh said.
"You divided India into two pieces as part of the two-nation theory in 1947. But in 1971, your country was divided into two pieces again. And if the situation persists, then no power can stop Pakistan from being broken up further," the Defence Minister said.
Pakistan faces a deadline imposed by the global terror funding watchdog Financial Action Task Force to act against terror groups and their sympathisers operating from its soil. Failing to meet the deadline will result in Pakistan's blacklisting by the FATF and downgrading by ratings agencies, which will make it difficult for the cash-strapped nation to keep its economy humming.
In the Haryana election in 2014, the BJP won 47 seats in the 90-seat assembly. The Congress then won 15 seats, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) took 19 and other regional parties and independents secured the rest. The BJP also swept the national election in Haryana this year, taking seven of the 10 Lok Sabha seats.
An exercise to filter out illegal immigrants similar to the one carried out in Assam is one of the major political issues in Haryana.