"We're Capable Of Giving A Much Bigger Blow": Defence Minister Warns Pak

Rajnath Singh was in Mumbai to commission India's second Scorpene-class attack submarine - a state-of-the-art diesel/electric naval asset that can fire anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes and is fitted with stealth technology

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has declared India's security forces are fully prepared for any challenge

Mumbai:

Rajnath Singh has warned Pakistan against armed conflict with India, asserting that with the strength of the Navy and the "strong resolve of our government... we are capable of giving a much bigger blow". The Defence Minister's comments come after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, in which he raised the issue of Kashmir and cautioned the global body of "consequences" if India and Pakistan - two nuclear-armed nations - waged war.

"Pakistan needs to understand that the Indian Navy has become much stronger with the commissioning of the INS Khanderi. They should know our capabilities and we can use them if required," he declared, referring to the Scorpene-class attack submarine that he commissioned in Mumbai this morning.

"India is proud of its Navy and can never forget the exceptional role it played in the 1971 war when Operation Trident and Operation Python broke the backbone of the Pakistan navy," he added, citing the importance of submarines in modern strategic warfare.

India has received multiple terror alerts over the past month, including serious threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and at least 30 major cities.

Last week Punjab Police announced that Pakistani drones had dropped AK-47 assault rifles and grenades in Amritsar. The weapons were meant for terrorists to create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the Punjab Police have told NDTV.

Earlier this month the Army revealed intelligence inputs that terrorists could attack South India. That warning came only weeks after ports in Gujarat were put on high alert over inputs that Pakistani commandos may try to infiltrate Indian waters through the Kutch area.

"State-sponsored terrorism is a big challenge. Our government is strong-willed, and we do not hesitate when it comes to taking tough decisions," Mr Singh said in Mumbai, where he also launched a P-17A frigate, stating that a "hostile neighbourhood" was working to destabilise India.

The Defence Minister was speaking in response to Pakistan reactivating terror camps in Balakot that had been bombed by the Indian Air Force in February.

On Wednesday, two days after Army Chief Bipin Rawat confirmed the reactivation, Rajnath Singh said India's forces were "fully prepared".

On Thursday, while addressing an event in Kerala, Rajnath Singh said the centre was committed to ensuring the nation's maritime security at a time when terror activities along the coast seem a distinct possibility.

Speaking today, Mr Singh also said the centre was committed to strengthening and modernising India's military.

In addition to the Scorpene-class submarine, a state-of-the-art diesel/electric naval asset that can fire anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes, is fitted with stealth technology and can cruise at speeds of 20 nautical miles per hour, the minister also launched INS Nigiri, a P-17A stealth frigate.

Apart from that, the Indian Air Force will welcome the first of 36 advanced Rafale fighter jets in October, and the Army will get S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia in early 2021.

With input from PTI

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