Article 370 repeal in J&K another example of Govt’s strong will: Rajnath Singh

‘J&K has ushered in a new era of peace, progress’
Addressing the ‘India Rising Conclave’ organised by a television media network here, he asserted that J&K had ushered in a new era of peace and progress due to the decision.
Addressing the ‘India Rising Conclave’ organised by a television media network here, he asserted that J&K had ushered in a new era of peace and progress due to the decision.Screengrab

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday termed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir as an example of the strong will of the government.

Addressing the ‘India Rising Conclave’ organised by a television media network here, he asserted that J&K had ushered in a new era of peace and progress due to the decision.

“One can assess this from the fact that Congress while carrying out its ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ did not face any difficulty. The yatra left Kashmir without any issue,” Singh said.


He said India’s borders were “fully secure” and asserted that surgical strikes conducted by India had broken the back of terrorists.

The defence minister said that whether it was the “standoff with China or any ill intentions from Pakistan”, Indian armed forces had been giving a “befitting reply”.

He said that India had led the world on issues like terrorism and had been successful in garnering support to eliminate the menace.

“Our borders are fully secure. Whether it was the standoff with China or ill intentions from Pakistan, our armed forces have been giving a befitting reply, whenever required. The surgical strikes against terrorism have broken the back of terrorists. A strong and clear message has gone to the world that India has the strength and it can strike (against terrorism) on its own soil, and if need be, on their (foreign) soil as well,” Singh said.

He said that this was the result of strong will of the government.

The defence minister emphasised that countries, which use terrorism as a tool, were well aware of the fact that India never harms anyone unnecessarily, nor does it spare anyone who tries to hurt its unity, integrity, and sovereignty.

“This is a conclave on rising India. And, the idea of rising India has been described differently by different people. Some economists see it as a rising economy of India, while some sociologists describe it as betterment in social living. Some political scientists term the political stability in the country and strengthening of democratic values as rising India,” he said. “However, some people speaking contrary to this too are also active, and for them, ‘democracy seems to be on the wane in India’, but such people are very few and far between.”

Singh said that from secure borders and self-reliance to a strong economy and transformed global image, India was rising as one of the “strongest countries” under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


He said that the government was carrying forward the vision of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose leadership the nuclear test was conducted in Pokhran in 1998.

“Today, we are producing big missiles, tanks, weapons and ammunition on our land. This is also a result of a strong political will,” the defence minister said.


He also highlighted the government’s resolve towards the development of the Northeast region, saying that it had been ensured that the region, full of beauty and natural resources, was well connected with the heart of the country.

“The Northeast has come closer to Delhi and ‘dil’ (heart) of people due to the Centre’s efforts,” Singh said.

He said that there was an “unprecedented peace” in the Northeast, which had resulted in the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA, from most areas.


The defence minister also outlined some of the achievements of the government in the last several years, and India’s vision for the future ahead.

“When 5G rollout in telecom is happening, our PM has started working on 6G,” he said. “The cheapest mobile data service in India. The reach of broadband connectivity from 20 percent in 2014 has grown to 80 percent now.” 


Singh said India’s export had grown tremendously and even the record foreign direct investment was a “positive signal”.

“India’s time has come. This is rising India,” he said, adding today, there is a vibrant digital economy.

The defence minister credited bold approach and unwavering resolve of the government, which had ensured secured borders and battle-ready armed forces backed by a self-reliant defence industry.


Terming national security as the government's top priority and self-reliance as the only medium to achieve it, he asserted that relentless efforts are being made to attain ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence.

Singh listed out some of the steps taken by the Ministry of Defence, including notification of positive indigenisation lists; earmarking of record 75 per cent of defence capital procurement budget for domestic industry in financial year 2023-24 and efforts to provide local companies access to international market.

He said the domestic defence production had witnessed a significant increase in the last few years.

“We are not only catering to our own needs, but are also exporting weapons and equipment to other countries. From Rs 900 crore, about seven-eight years ago, defence exports have skyrocketed and are nearing Rs 14,000 crore in the current financial year. Our target is by 2026, it should be worth Rs 40,000 crore,” the defence minister said.

He said that in the last few years, the social changes achieved had been remarkable. 


“Caste-based vote bank politics and religious appeasement were being carried out. Triple talaq issue was one, it was being used to do politics, and women were also being cheated in the name of religion,” Singh said. “We worked to give them dignity, equality, and freedom.”

He said that the current cabinet was by far the “most socially diverse cabinet” and even the media had reported on this earlier.

“Despite this, there are many people in the country, who have made ‘virodh’ (opposition), as an ‘occupation’ to tarnish the image of the country, and the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the defence minister said. 


Citing a report by Morgan Stanley, he emphasised the growth of the Indian economy.

“In 2013, investment firm Morgan Stanley had coined a phrase ‘fragile five’ economies, and named India among them. We have successfully dealt with the problems such as the possibility of recession and COVID-19 pandemic, and today we are an inspiration to other countries. The highest ever FDI inflow of USD 83.57 billion last year is a positive sign for the economy and a proof that the world has faith in the possibilities and opportunities available in India. From ‘fragile five’, we are now among ‘fabulous five,’” Singh said.

“According to a report by Morgan Stanley, this possibility cannot be ruled out that India will be one of the top three economies of the world by 2027,” he said.

“When we celebrate the 100th anniversary of our independence in 2047, I am hopeful that we will be the world’s top economy,” the defence minister said.

He described India’s diplomacy as another facet of rising India and said the presidency of G-20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year was proof that India’s stature was continuously growing on the world stage.

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