India will retaliate if provoked: Rajnath Singh

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

In a strong warning to those disrupting border peaces, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said the country will not hesitate in retaliating if someone fires first and asserted the government is ready to talk to Pakistan over PoK and not Kashmir.

“India always wants good friendly relations with its neighbours and continues with its policy of not disturbing anyone. But if someone fires at us first, we will not count the retaliatory bullets. Chhedenge nahi, par chhodenge bhi nahi (will not disturb anyone, but if disturbed, then won’t spare anyone),” Singh said in Bhopal on Saturday night.

On Pakistan raising the issue of Kashmir, Rajnath said, “During my meeting with the Pak Rangers and its delegation, I have cleared to them, Kashmir was, is and will remain India’s integral part and if you wish to talk, then talk about Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) only.”

“I have also tried to convince?? Pak Rangers that why they fire at the uniform (soldiers). First you fire, and then we retaliate. Why not both of us will together fire at terrorism to end the menace,” he said.

The Home Minister said it is a challenge to protect the country’s over 23,000-km-long border, but assured it was well protected.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic skills, Rajnath said it is because of his leadership quality that even a country like United Arab Emirates (UAE) has stood with India on the issue of fighting against terrorism.

On the steps taken by the government to enhance vigil on borders, he said in the last one year, the smuggling of cows to Bangladesh has come down to 2.5-3 lakh from the earlier figure of 22 lakh.

“This figure is not just provided by the Border Security Force (BSF) but also by NGOs working on the issue,” he said.

Referring to North East region, he said 70 terrorist organisations are active there and dealing with them is a challenge, but added that change is visible there also while citing the recent agreement with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), to prove his point.

On the issue of Naxalism, he said 26 districts in the country are affected with the menace and that the respective state governments are dealing with the problem in an effective manner with the active support from the Centre, both in terms of deploying Central forces and required funds.