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LAC standoff | China has preferred talks, says Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. File

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Promising to initiate an “unprecedented development” process in the next five years in J&K, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said people in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) will soon will prefer India over Pakistan after watching the progress on this side.

Addressing BJP leaders and workers in a virtual Jan Samvad, Mr Singh said, “Development is our priority. In the coming five years, we will change the future of J&K and PoK residents would envy it too. People in PoK will also raise their voice and will prefer to live in India's J&K, not with Pakistan.” He also highlighted the opening up of six new medical colleges, two central universities in the Union Territories.

Also read: Beijing think-tank links scrapping of Article 370 to LAC tensions

Referring to the standoff in eastern Ladakh, the Minister said the dialogue on military and the diplomatic channels were underway to resolve the issue on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“Military and diplomatic channels were open with China. China has also expressed desire to resolve the issue through a dialogue. We also believe that Indo-China tussle could be resolved through a dialogue at the military and the diplomatic levels,” Mr. Singh said. 

Referring to the opposition’s criticism over the issue, Mr Singh said the government would not keep the people or the Parliament in the dark about the developments in Ladakh.

“We will divulge the details at an appropriate time,” he said. He assured the people of the country and the opposition parties that “there will be no compromise with national pride”.

"India is strong, not weak. We are augmenting the security of the country," he added.

On the revocation of Article 370 and J&K’s special status, Mr. Singh said even Muslim countries supported it, except Malaysia and Turkey.

“Article 370 and Article 35-A were in our manifesto. Even the party workers were suspicious if the BJP will pursue the agenda. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, what we say, we do. PM Modi did it in the blink of an eye. We will not allow a crisis of credibility,” said Mr. Singh, while defending the move of reading down the Article 370 on August 5 last year.

He said in the garb of the azaadi (freedom) agitation, the Pakistani and the Islamic State flags were being unfurled in Kashmir. “But, only the national flag is being hosted in Kashmir now,” he said, adding “Kashmiriyat is about the coexistence of the Hazratbal shrine and the Baba Barfani (Amarnath shrine).”

On the national news channels telecasting the temperature of Muzaffarabad and Gilgit, Mr. Singh said, "There might be changes in Islamabad (Pakistan) with the temperature readings. That is why it's bent upon doing some mischievous acts. But our defence forces, paramilitary, intelligence and J&K Police are giving befitting response to their activities in J&K.”

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:06:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lac-standoff-china-has-preferred-talks-says-rajnath-singh/article31826886.ece

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