Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) [India], September 26 (ANI): Defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that if the then Indian government had taken a decision related to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 1971, then the territory would have been with India today.
Talking about the 1971 India-Pakistan war that resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh, he said, "1971 war was not for dominance, land or power, it'll be remembered for humanity. If a decision had been taken over PoK at that time, PoK would have been with India today, and not with Pakistan".
Singh paid glowing tributes to the war heroes from Himachal Pradesh, including the first recipient of Param Vir Chakra Major Somnath Sharma (1947); Brigadier Sher Jung Thapa, Maha Vir Chakra (1948); Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa, PVC (1962); Captain Vikram Batra, PVC (1999) and Subedar Major Sanjay Kumar, PVC (1999), whose names are etched in the hearts of every Indian for their unmatched bravery and sacrifice.
He stated that the Armed Forces will always be a source of inspiration to the people, especially the youth, as they possess the traits of discipline, devotion to duty, patriotism & sacrifice and are a symbol of national pride & trust. "Background, religion and creed don't matter, what matters is that our beloved tri-colour continues to fly high," he said.
The Defence Minister asserted that India is the only country which has given the message of peace to the whole world and its military is respected across the globe for its bravery. While maintaining that India has never attacked any country, nor has it captured an inch of a foreign land, he assured the Nation that if any attempt is ever made to disturb the harmony in India, a befitting reply will be given.
"India is a peace-loving country, but it should not be mistaken for being cowardly or afraid of war. When we were dealing with COVID-19 and the entire world, we had to face the tension on the northern border with China. The courage of our soldiers during the Galwan incident proved that no matter how big the power is; India will never bow down," he said.
He further described the ex-servicemen as the assets of the country, stressing that no price can be set for their sacrifices in the service of the motherland. He reiterated the Government's commitment and duty toward the well-being and welfare of the veterans. He listed the steps the Ministry of Defence took, including the online services under 'Digital India', to increase their ease of living.
These include Smart Canteen Card, Ex-servicemen Identity Card; online access to Kendriya Sainik Board & Directorate General of Resettlement Services and the launch of the System for Pension Administration (Raksha) (SPARSH) initiative. (ANI)