With the induction of Rafale fighter jets in the air force, India will not have to cross the borders to “eliminate the terror camps” in Pakistan but can do it from the country itself, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said here.
Singh arrived in the US on Monday for the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington on December 18.
Addressing members of the Indian community at an event organised by the Consulate General of India at the educational organisation, Asia Society, he applauded the courage and valour of India’s armed forces and recalled his France visit in October to receive the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets at a facility of Dassault Aviation in the French port city of Bordeaux.
Now that India will have the jets, “if we have to eliminate the terror camps, there will be no need to take the planes to Pakistan. We can do it from India”, Singh said amid loud applause from the audience.
Replying to a member of the audience who commented that Singh had said that if talks are held with Pakistan, it will now only be on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the defence minister said, “Baat kya hogi, PoK toh apna hai hi (What is there to talk, PoK is ours)”, amidst loud cheers from those present.
Singh had said that if talks were held with Pakistan in future, it would be only on PoK.
Singh said India’s military strength is increasing, but the country also takes precaution even when dealing with Pakistan.
He said if India wanted, it could have attacked the military establishments and civilian areas in Pakistan but that would have resulted in a lot of casualties.
“But we took precaution and decided that we have to target and eliminate only those places where there are terror training camps. Not a single civilian was killed and neither did we attack any Pakistani military establishment. We never want to attack a country’s sovereignty. This is our character,” he said.
Singh said India wants to have good relations with Pakistan. He referred to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee going to Lahore in 1999. “But what did Pakistan give to us in return - Kargil.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also decided to invite Heads of State and government of neighbouring countries to his oath-taking ceremony in 2014.
During his first term on 2014, Modi had extended invitation to SAARC leaders, including the then Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif, to his oath-taking ceremony.
“This signifies the thought process of our Prime Minister. We should have good relations with our neighbouring countries…but how Pakistan behaves with us, you can see,” Rajnath said.