New Delhi: In a clear message to China, just ahead of talks to resolve the border issue, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that India is facing challenges on its borders and will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“India is a peace-loving country and that peace can only be ensured through the ability to deter war,” Singh said while speaking at a webinar celebrating the Diamond Jubilee to mark 60 years of the National Defence College in Delhi.
The webinar theme was on ‘India’s National Security – The Decade Ahead’ and it started with a keynote address by Rajnath Singh.
The Minister said: “We believe that differences should not become disputes. We attach importance to the peaceful resolution of differences through dialogue. India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unilateralism and aggression, no matter what the sacrifice.”
India and China are engaged in a border dispute for the last seven months in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several rounds of talks between the two countries, the dispute remains unresolved.
Talking about India’s relations with friendly counties he said: “We have enhanced the scope and quality of our relations with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman in the West and with Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea in the East.”
He also mentioned that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special interest in reaching out to partner countries in West Asia, South East and East Asia.
“India’s strategic partnership with the US is stronger than ever before,” Singh said.
Talking about India’s ally Russia, Singh said: “India also has a strong, traditional and deep-rooted relations with Russia. Our two countries have weathered many a challenge in the past through our close understanding and appreciation of each other’s concerns and interests.”
He said working with like-minded countries, India has achieved substantial success to not only expose Pakistan’s regressive policies but also make it is increasingly difficult to continue with its previous business as usual approach.
“With the exception of Pakistan, given its agenda of fuelling terrorism, India has improved its relations with all neighbours. We have invested heavily to help and support our friends to forge a relationship of mutual-respect and mutual-interest,” he added.
From now on more officers from neighbouring counties will be trained at India’s prestigious strategic leadership institution the National Defence College (NDC) as New Delhi increases its engagement with neighbours to the counter growing influence of China.
Five new friendly countries — Tajikistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Uzbekistan and Philippines — will now be able to send its officers to India for annual training in national and international security-related fields.