'If any superpower wants to hurt our self-esteem...': Rajnath Singh's stern message to China
Talking about the ₹48,000 crore defence deal cleared by the Centre on Wednesday, Rajnath Singh said the decision will help generate more than 50,000 job opportunities in the country.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday indirectly gave a stern message to China saying that India's soldiers are capable of giving befitting reply to any "superpower" that wants to hurt India's self-esteem.
"We don't want war, but if any superpower wants to hurt our self-esteem, then our soldiers are capable of giving a befitting reply," Singh said on the occasion of Armed Forces Veterans Day without naming China, according to new agency PTI.
"India does not want conflict with anyone; it wants peace and friendly ties since it's in our blood and culture," PTI further quoted him as saying.
The defence minister is in Bengaluru at Indian Air Force's HQ Training Command.
Talking about the ₹48,000 crore defence deal cleared by the Centre on Wednesday, Singh said, "We have given approval for the acquisition of 83 indigenous LCA Tejas fighter jets from HAL. This decision will help generate more than 50,000 job opportunities in the country."
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets.
The deal would strengthen the Air Force's fleet of homegrown fighter jet. Singh had earlier called the deal "game-changer for self-reliance".
The defence minister's remarks come amidst the Ladakh standoff which has now entered its ninth month, with soldiers holding forward positions at friction points in extreme weather conditions. The two armies have held eight rounds of military talks so far, with dates yet to be announced for the delayed ninth round of dialogue between corps commander-level officers.
Singh today said that during the standoff, India's soldiers displayed exemplary bravery and patience and "if that can be narrated then every Indian will feel proud
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited forward areas in eastern Ladakh on Monday for a security review.
In a year-end review of major developments published on January 1, the defence ministry had said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) escalated the situation in the sensitive theatre by using unorthodox weapons against Indian soldiers and amassing a large number of troops during the ongoing border standoff along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The ministry said the PLA attempted to alter the status quo in the sector by force but the Indian Army was well-entrenched to counter any misadventure by the adversary.