Union defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said the status quo between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh is not a positive development. “Talks between India and China have been underway but no success has been achieved yet. There’ll be a next round of talks on the military level which can take place anytime. But no meaningful outcome has come and there is status quo.I don’t think status-quo is a positive development,” the defence minister told ANI in an interview.
A “meaningful solution” is yet to come out of diplomatic and military level talks with China to resolve the standoff, he said adding that “there would be no reduction in our deployment and I feel their deployment will also not reduce”.
The Union minister said China was doing a lot of infrastructure development in its border areas. “India is also developing infrastructure at a fast pace for people at the border and for soldiers there. We are not developing infrastructure to attack any country but for our people,” he clarified.
At the same time, issuing a stern warning to the neighbouring nation, he added that India will not tolerate anything that hurts its self-respect. “Being soft does not mean that anyone can attack our pride and we sit and watch silently. India will not compromise on its pride,” the defence minister was quoted in the interview.
“India has a sharp focus. ‘Jo hume chedega hum usse chhorenge nahi’. We want to maintain peaceful relations with all nations,” he said when asked if this year’s incident at the border was a result of possible collusion between China and Pakistan. “If a country is expansionist and tries to occupy our land, then India has the strength, capability and power to not let its land go into anyone’s hand, whether it is any country of the world.”
Rajnath Singh also came down heavily on Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s comments against farm laws last month. “I’d like to say about the prime minister of any country that comments shouldn’t be made about India’s internal affairs. India doesn’t require any outside interference. It’s our internal matter. No country has the right to comment on our internal affairs,” Singh said.
About farmers being termed ‘naxals’ and ‘khalistanis’
Singh condemned the protesting farmers being named naxals and ‘khalistanis’ saying “they are ‘annadatas'”.
“These allegations should not be made by anyone against farmers. We express our deepest respect towards farmers. They are ‘annadatas’… There is no question of being insensitive towards farmers. Our farmers are holding demonstrations and I am not the only one pained, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pained as well,” he said.
He said he knew more about agriculture as he was born from the womb of a farmer-mother. “Rahul Gandhi is younger to me and I know more than him about agriculture. We cannot take decisions against the farmers.”
The government has repeatedly said that Minimum Support Price will continue. If leaders don’t fulfill promises in a democracy then people will punish them. We’re striving to increase the income of farmers, he added.
“Some forces have tried to create some misperceptions amongst farmers. We’ve also spoken to several farmers. My only request to farmers is that clause-wise discussion should be done & not seek ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. We will find a resolution,” he said.
“Want to ask why there should be conversion. The practice of mass conversions should stop. As far as I know, in Muslim religion, one can’t marry someone from another religion. I personally don’t approve of conversion for marriage,” Singh said. “In many cases, it has been seen that religious conversion is being done forcefully. There is a huge difference between natural marriage and forceful conversion for marriage. I think governments which made these laws have considered all these things.”