Describing the Indian Army as “the greatest army in the world”, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 27, 2022, said the mission of full integration of J&K that started on August 5, 2019 “will complete when Gilgit-Baltistan and areas of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) will reunite with India.
“We feel the pain of residents of PoK, facing atrocities and violation of their rights at the hands of Pakistan. On this side, Kashmir and Ladakh are set on a new path of development and prosperity (post-August 5, 2019). This is just the beginning. The mission will complete only when Gilgit Baltistan and areas of PoK reunite with India. Also, when justice is delivered to the refugees of 1947 and they get their land and homes back. The day is not far away,” Mr. Singh said while referring to the resolution passed by Parliament on retrieving PoK in 1994.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived in Kashmir on October 27 morning, was speaking during the ‘Shaurya Diwas’ in Budgam district to commemorate the Indian Army’s successes made after the landing of soldiers in J&K on October 27, 1947, a day after Indian signed the Instrument of Accession with then J&K ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
Mr. Singh accused Pakistan of committing excesses in POK. “I want to ask Pakistan, which sheds crocodile’s tears over human rights, about how the residents of POK are being treated, their rights are violated and denied. Pakistan is illegally occupying these areas and sowing seeds of hatred. Time is not far when Pakistan will have to pay for the suppression and atrocities unleashed on the residents of PoK,” Mr. Singh said.
The Defence Minister also questioned the role played by human rights groups in J&K. “Where are human rights groups when security forces and civilians are attacked? Human rights groups and so-called intellectuals have been supporting terrorists and their supporters when the security forces would take action against them. India is a country which is even sensitive towards trees and plants not to talk about human beings,” Mr. Singh said.
“The situation Kashmir was in, the silence of these so-called intellectuals was also responsible for it. Kashmir saw ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and their forced migration too,” he added.
He said terrorism was unacceptable to India. “When a terrorist comes to kill, he does not differentiate between a Hindu and Muslim. He kills a human being and an Indian,” he said.
The Defence minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5, 2019 ended special provisions of Article 370 and walked the talk, a dream nursed for more than 70 years.
“August 5 was the realisation of the dreams of leaders Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Prem Nath Dogra. This region had suffered because of ‘dou pradhan, vidhan, nishan’. The Central schemes on development would stop at the borders of Punjab and Himachal. Leave aside special status, people were denied even the basic rights (prior to August 5, 2019,” he said.
He said Dogras and the Dogra rulers have played an important role in J&K’s history and contributed to the region’s development in the past.
The Defence Minister also highlighted the role and sacrifices of senior Army officers to fight the invading Pakistani Army in 1947. “The Indian Army has been giving a befitting reply to those harbouring nefarious designs. Their commitment towards safeguarding the borders have touched to new heights,” he added.