‘We won’t back down from taking any big, tough step’
New Delhi, Sept 17: No power on earth can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling along the normal routes, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday in response to questions that Chinese troops were blocking the Indian Army patrols along the disputed boundary in eastern Ladakh.
“Patrolling patterns are traditional and well-defined. No force on earth can stop our soldiers from patrolling and our soldiers have sacrificed their lives for that. There will be no change in the patrolling pattern,” he said to a question from former Defence Minister A.K. Antony. Face-offs happened because patrols were interrupted, he noted.
“Starting a war is within one’s reach, but its outcome cannot be predicted. India has always sent out a message of peace. However, it is amazed that efforts are being made to disturb that peace,” he said.
Singh pointed out that the country had fought many wars and “however big the challenge, we stand united.”
He said he cannot say more due to sensitivities around operational requirements. “The morale and motivation of the armed forces was very high. This time also, our soldiers have chosen patience and courage over aggression,” he said.
Singh said that China had undertaken significant infrastructure construction activity that enhanced their deployment capabilities in the border areas. In response, the India too had stepped up the budget for border infrastructure development to double the previous levels. As a result, more roads and bridges have been completed in the border areas. “In the coming years too, the government remains committed to this objective. We will not back down from taking any big and tough step in the interest of our country.”