WASHINGTON – In a strong message to China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that if harmed, India would not spare anyone.
In his address to the Indian-American community in San Francisco on Thursday, Mr. Singh asserted that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had emerged as a powerful country and was headed to be among the top three economies of the world.
Mr. Singh also sent a subtle message to the U.S. that New Delhi did not believe in a diplomacy of “zero-sum game” and its relationship with one country could not be at the expense of the other.
The Defence Minister is in the U.S. to attend the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in Washington DC. Thereafter, he travelled to Hawaii for meetings at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command headquarters and then to San Francisco.
At a reception hosted in his honour by the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, the Defence Minister said, “I cannot say openly what they (Indian soldiers) did and what decisions we (the government) took. But I can definitely say that a message has gone (to China) that India will not spare anyone, if India is harmed,” he said.
The Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas. The face-off escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, 2020. As many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops were killed in the clashes.
Without making any direct reference to the American pressure on sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine war, Mr. Singh said India believed in having a bilateral relationship which is based on “win-win” for both the countries.
His remarks came amidst some disquiet in Washington over India’s position on the Ukraine crisis as well as its decision to procure discounted Russian oil.
“The image of India has changed. The prestige of India has improved. In the next few years, no power in the world can stop India from becoming the world’s top three economies,” Mr. Singh said.
“Today we have a new and confident Bharat,” he said, adding that India was headed towards becoming a self-reliant country and the Modi government was taking several important steps in this regard, including in the defence sector.
“Our economy did suffer a setback due to the pandemic. But now we are having a fast recovery,” the Defence Minister said.