India not hungry for territory: PM

Updated - November 09, 2021 01:52 am IST

Published - October 02, 2016 06:57 pm IST - New Delhi

The Prime Minister inaugurates Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a state-of-the-art complex dedicated to overseas Indians, in New Delhi

Three days after India conducted surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India had never been hungry for territory.

“This country has never been hungry for territory, this country has never attacked another nation in the world,” Mr. Modi said after inaugurating the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra function here on Sunday.

Speaking at a public event on the Swachh Bharat Mission, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The country as well as the whole world is aware of this [surgical strikes] … the way our jawans displayed valour have made India proud.” However, there have been growing demands for proof of the operations after Pakistan continued to deny them. Responding to queries on whether any video footage would be released, Mr. Singh replied: “Just wait and watch.”

Pakistani claim

The Pakistani Army, meanwhile, has taken a group of 40 local and foreign journalists to posts along the LoC — Bagsar in Bhimbher sector and Mandol in Hot Spring sector — one of the areas where the Army had claimed to have carried out strikes.

Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa described the Indian claims as “drama”. “There have been instances of firing across the LoC to which Pakistan has responded … But there has never been any physical violation, nor can it happen,” he noted. “This is all false.” The journalists were also allowed to speak to soldiers and villagers in the forward area.

Soldiers’ sacrifice

At the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra function, Mr. Modi recalled the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers in protecting foreign lands in the two World Wars, and said the world must recognise their sacrifice.

He said the Indian diaspora should be looked at not just in terms of its numbers, but also in terms of its strength. “For years the term ‘brain drain’ has been in vogue. But if we look at the diaspora as our strength, we can convert this into ‘brain gain’, he said. “Mahatma Gandhi had left India, but the call of the nation brought him back,” he said.

He said that at a time when the world was keen to engage with India, the “fear of the unknown” could be the biggest obstacle, which the Indian diaspora could help overcome.

Emphasising the importance of connecting with the diaspora, Mr. Modi, said the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated the concept of the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra.

This article has been corrected for a factual error.

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