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Updated: September 16, 2013 12:27 IST

Fight terror, not India, Modi tells Pakistan

Smriti Kak Ramachandran
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BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, at an ex-servicemen Rally at Rewari in Haryana on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
The Hindu
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, at an ex-servicemen Rally at Rewari in Haryana on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

‘National security is not a priority for weak UPA government’

At his first public rally as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi had words of advice not only for the incumbent government but also for the governments across the borders. While he advised Pakistan to stop focusing on “anti-India” policies and clamp down on terror, Bangladesh and China were told to “fight poverty, illiteracy and superstitions” and not India.

Addressing the gathering included ex-servicemen, Mr. Modi said Pakistan ought to change its stance vis-à-vis India and instead focus on itself.

With a poster of himself standing in a reflective pose in front of Parliament in the backdrop, he touched upon Pakistan’s failure to forge friendly ties with India. When a democratically elected government recently took over there, there was hope of friendly relations. But the beheading of Indian soldiers at the LoC proved otherwise, he said adding that if Pakistan withdrew its anti-India policies and stopped letting terrorists use its territory, it would progress more in one decade than it had done since its formation.

Training his guns on the UPA government for its “weak stand” on border intrusions, he said national security was not a priority for the government and skirmishes between the armed forces were a manifestation of a “weak government at the Centre.”

Mr. Modi attacked Defence Minister A.K. Antony for his statement in Parliament about the LoC killings and JD(U) leader Bhim Singh for saying that soldiers should be prepared to die. He said: “If you cannot respect them and recognise their sacrifice, do not insult soldiers and the families of the martyrs.”

While he extolled the armed forces for their role in keeping the borders safe and for their role during natural disasters such as the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and the recent Uttarakhand floods, he castigated the Centre for the rise in tension along borders.

“We are totally surrounded by problems. Pakistan is not behaving, China is threatening us, water of the Brahmaputra is being stopped and there is a threat to the territory of Arunachal Pradesh …. Is this because of a weak Army? The problem is not on the borders, the problem is in Delhi,” he said, adding that no matter how strong and competent the armed forces were, until a patriotic and able government took power at the Centre, there would be “no guarantee of safety.”

Since Independence, the country had lost as many soldiers during wars as it had to terrorism and Maoist insurgency, he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister criticised the government for allowing the Sachar Committee to suggest a census of the armed forces based on religion, saying it was an example of the vote bank politics played by the Congress. Even the British did not divide the people of India as much as our own people have. The armed forces are an illustration of true secularism.”

India’s dependence on other nations for its defence procurement was another issue flagged by Mr. Modi. With its capabilities in research, engineering and technology, India must be self-reliant and should aspire to not only meet its demand for equipment and arsenal, but also become an exporter. “Those sitting in Delhi have no such concern. They are only bothered about when the next tender for a deal is going to happen because it a trade worth billions.”

Mr. Modi also demanded a White Paper on the long pending proposal of “one rank, one pension.” He said had the BJP formed the government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee 2004, the issue would have long been settled.

Among those present at the rally were Haryana Janhit Congress president Kuldip Bishnoi; the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh; Olympian Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Jagdish Mukhi.

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@ C Balachander
India has been crying out for a leader like Modi who does not hide from the truth and knows what India needs. The previous NDA govt had different leaders at the helm, their handling of Kargil and the Kandahar hijacking cannot be compared to Modi. Lets give this man a chance and judge him afterwards.

from:  Vipul
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 14:19 IST

Everyone agrees that the present government has failed in many respects and could not address core issues effectively such as corruption, black money, tax evasion, mis-management, inflation, price rise, ineffective foreign policy, cross border terrorism, etc. Honesty and straight forwardness are not valued in our country at the moment and in fact, they are put to test / risk most of the times. No doubt, Modi made a good speech but for the time being he should park aside criticizing / advising what others ought to do or ought not to do. Rather he should focus on highlighting what his party would intend to do to the people of this country if given a chance for them to come to power. Modi should address concrete measures similar to what he stated 'one rank one pension'. Youth empowerment and value system are presently lacking and he should focus mainly on that. He should not allow communal forces to control rather he should be above all these and has to give the comfort on true secularism

from:  Partha
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 13:43 IST

@ C Balachander: Amazed to read you. Still faulting with Mr. Modi?
What he is saying is hard fact. UPA is a total failure - not because crime happened - but because of safeguarding the culprits and not securing boarders. What BJP did in past may be wrong - but it does not make current UPA correct and best.

from:  Avinash Baranwal
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 13:23 IST

I agree with Mr. Modi about arm policies of India. India imports rifles, guns, tanks and other war materials from other countries. If India can build Agni-5 and nuclear sub-marines why not these small tech war equipmement which leads to billions of much needed dollar going outside this country.

I wish Mr. Modi to come to power and as far as Indian defence is concerned I want India producing everything from guns, tanks to figher air crafts.
I don't have any hope with this UPA Government.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 12:43 IST

Mr. Modi ought to be reminded that during the NDA tenure of Mr.Vajpayee IC814 was hijacked leading to the foreign minister escorting a dreaded terrorist Masood Azhar who then went to to plot the Parliament attack.
The chest thumping NDA then went for Operation Parakram costing thousands of crores and hundreds of lives of our brave soldiers without a single shot being fired! Is this the tough stand that Mr. Modi is talking about! The army also knows fully well that the advantage of the Indian forces in a conventional war was lost because of Pokhran 1998 by the NDA.
General V K Singh sharing the dias with Mr. Modi lets the cat out of the RSS bag. The Baba Ramdevs, the Anna Hazares and the Kiran Bedi's are just players in the RSS game to defame the ruling dispensation.
It is amusing to see the "impatient" Mr.Modi speaking against the backdrop of Redfort and Parliament replicas!

from:  C Balachander
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 10:56 IST

Modi is the only hope for India

from:  Ahmed Raja
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 10:54 IST

First public meeting of would-be PM (according to BJP), made me sad as expected.His public address was to point out that geographically india is located at wrong place ,surrounded by bad neighborhoods.He did not share that if he or his party(BJP) has any counter policy ,which can stop corruption (karnataka, punjab included),control inflation ,law and order(gujarat,ayodhya included)which are biggest enemies of our youth.PLEASE give clear- cut policy promise to youth instead of raising emotional issues.

from:  rakesh
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 10:31 IST

A Good Start Mr. Modi! Spell out your ideas and steps to be taken towards national development and unity amongst its citizens. Let the people of India, the Holy Land, join together keeping aside their castes and religions, to build a strong and prosperous nation for our younger generations!

from:  Gnanam
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 10:25 IST

We deserve a Leader like Narendra Modi...wonderful speech... wonderful thought..Lets support Modi...

from:  sudarshan
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 09:55 IST

Excellent and timely speech by Mr.Modi,especially advise addressed to Pakistan is worth one.

Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 09:09 IST

Really impressed by whatever Modi has said! I especially like his point
about how India should indigenously develop defense equipment. It is sad
that to see the corrupt practices in defense deals which suffer as an
impediment to this indigenous research, and also weaken the morale of
the scientists in the country.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Sep 16, 2013 at 05:34 IST
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