Chandigarh, October 13: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday told Pakistan to forget Kashmir and instead fight an “honest battle” against terrorism, warning that no power can stop its disintegration if it continued with its rant and did not mend its ways.
He said India was ready to assist Pakistan in the fight against terrorism if it cannot do so on its own, but added that Islamabad’s intentions were deceitful.
Addressing poll rallies in Haryana’s Pataudi and Chief Minister M L Khattar’s home constituency Karnal, Singh also slammed the Congress party for criticising him on doing “shastra puja” of the Rafale jet on Dussehra, saying the remarks by the opposition party only emboldened Pakistan.
He asked why Congress was objecting to “Om” being written on the aircraft.
Singh hit out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for saying he will continue to raise Kashmir issue on international forums, despite India warning that it was its internal matter.
“Forget it. Don’t even think about Kashmir. You have paid the price. In 1947, you divided India into two because of two-nation theory…. In 1971, Pakistan got divided into two,” he said.
“Pakistan should stop its Kashmir rant. Kashmir was, is and will be our integral part of India and no power in the world can separate it from us,” he said.
“I want to suggest Pakistan: bring a change in thinking or else if you keep going on like this, no power in this world can stop Pakistan from disintegrating,” he warned.
Asking Pakistan to wage and “honest battle” against terrorism, instead of using it to weaken and break India, the defence minister said if Islamabad was finding it difficult to tackle the menace, India was ready to help its neighbour.
“We will extend cooperation to them to fight terrorism. But Pakistan’s intentions are deceitful,” Singh said.
The defence minister’s statements come amid tensions between India and Pakistan following the abrogation of the special status of Kashmir under Article 370 in August.
Referring to India getting the Rafale jets from France, he said, “Now, we don’t have to enter their territory to wipe out terrorists, now sitting here in India only we can do ‘Jai Shri Ram’. But, he reiterated, the fighters were meant only for self-defence and not for aggression.
At another poll rally in Karnal, Singh defended performing ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale aircraft. “I wrote ‘Om’ on it, broke a coconut (as per tradition), tied a ‘raksha bandhan’ around the plane. But Congress raked up a controversy, saying we have become communal. They have objection to even ‘Om’,” Singh said.
“Is ‘Om’ not written in your homes? Sikh brethren sitting here, I want to ask do they not chant Ek Onkar,” the senior BJP leader said.
“Do our Christians not say Amen, do our Muslim brothers not say Amen… Questions are being raised on this. When I was performing ‘puja’, there were people of various faiths present there, including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. All of them were cooperating, he said.
He said rather than welcoming it, Congress started criticising the ‘shastra puja’.
“They keep saying (things) without paying heed to what they say. And if anyone gets emboldened with their statements, it is Pakistan. That is why I say they should be taught a befitting lesson in these assembly polls, like you did in Lok Sabha elections,” he told the rally organised in the run up to the assembly polls on October 21.
The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over Singh’s visit to France to receive the first Rafale fighter jet and performing shastra puja on the aircraft, with opposition party leaders slamming it as a “drama .
At a ceremony in France on Tuesday, Singh formally took the delivery of the first of the 36 long-awaited French-made aircraft acquired by the Indian Air Force. He also took a sortie in the two-seater jet.
The Opposition party accused the BJP of politicising a defence acquisition. (PTI)