Eye on Pakistan: Rajnath says India will achieve its goals ‘when it reaches Gilgit-Baltistan’
NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday hit out at Pakistan for “committing atrocities” against the people of PoK and reiterated India’s resolution to reclaim the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The defence minister said the neighbouring country will have to “bear the consequences” for its treatment of the people residing in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Hinting at retrieving Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the minister said the goal of overall development in the twin Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be achieved “after reaching Gilgit and Baltistan” — parts of PoK.
“We have just begun our journey of development in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. We will achieve our goal when we reach Gilgit and Baltistan,” Singh said addressing the ‘Shaurya Diwas’ event, the enactment of landing at Srinagar by Indian Air Force on this day in 1947.
Singh added that the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 on August 5, 2019 ended the discrimination against the people in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Post independence, the people of J&K were deprived of development and tranquility for decades, until the Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370, bringing a new era of peace and progress in the Union territory. The discrimination against the people of Jammu and Kashmir was thus ended under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5, 2019. Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s yajna of Jammu and Kashmir’s full integration was achieved on the day,” he said.
Accusing Pakistan of shedding crocodiles’ tears in the name of human rights, Singh also raked up the issue of terrorism.
“The tandav of terrorism that Jammu and Kashmir has seen in the name of Kashmiriyat cannot be described,” he said, while asserting that it has no religion and that the only aim of terrorists is to target India.
He claimed that in the last few years “some so-called intellectuals have cried human rights violations when actions were taken against terrorists”.
The defence minister also paid tributes to the heroes of the armed forces and the people of J&K who laid down their lives to “protect the unity and integrity of the country”. He stated that it is because of their valour and sacrifice that J&K remained an integral part of India and will continue to be so in the future.
“The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. The incident of 1947 is one such instance,” he said.
The event marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the 1 Sikh Regiment at the old airfield in 1947 to protect Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani forces.
The arrival of the Indian Army soldiers at the airfield on October 27, 1947, to repulse Pakistani forces was the first military operation of Independent India, a move that changed the course of the 1947-48 War.
The Indian Army troops were transported by the Indian Air Force to Budgam, a day after the Instrument of Accession was signed between Maharaja Hari Singh and Republic of India. Hence the day is celebrated as Infantry Day.
At the venue, huge cut-outs of Brig Rajinder Singh, Brig Mohd Usman, Maj Somnath Sharma and Maqbool Sherwani were mounted.
Usha Sharma, the octogenarian daughter of Brigadier Rajinder Singh and family members of other martyrs also attended the event.
The IAF’s Dakota aircraft used in the mission was also displayed on the airfield. During a theatrical adaptation of the attack, personnel of Battalion 46 RR were landed here by an advanced AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
Singh recalled the valour of the first Param Vir Chakra recipient, Major Somnath Sharma, who despite being injured led a company and saved the Srinagar airfield and in the process made the supreme sacrifice.
He also remembered former chief minister of Odisha, late Biju Patnaik, who as a pilot during the war, made a valuable contribution to the movement of the troops.
Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha was also present at the programme.
(With inputs from agencies)