MUMBAI (MAHARASHTRA): Amid repeated attempts by Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue on the global stage and win support for its cause, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that the neighbouring country should understand that today in India there is a government with strong resolve, which is capable of giving much bigger blow to it than in 1971.
“The nation can never forget the exceptional role the Navy played in 1971 war when Operation Trident and Operation Python broke the backbone of Pakistan Navy. Pakistan should understand that today with the government’s strong resolve and advancement in naval capacity with additions like
, India is capable of giving a much bigger blow to it,” he said.
Singh was addressing a gathering at the commissioning ceremony of indigenously built submarine INS Khanderi.
“We believe in peaceful and mutually beneficial co-existence with our neighbours,” he said, adding that the government was deeply conscious of the requirements of the Armed Forces and remains committed to providing requisite focus and financial support for its modernisation.
Hitting out at Imran Khan for his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during which he raised the Kashmir issue, Singh said India’s progressive steps in Jammu and Kashmir are receiving global support, while the Prime Minister of Pakistan is running door-to-door unsuccessfully.
“During the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US, President Donald Trump acknowledged the potential of the Indian government and was of the view that Modi is capable of handling Pakistan-based terrorism,” he said.
Amid reports of the possibility of another 26/11-type attack on India’s west coast, Singh said such plans will not succeed.
“Not just the security forces but every citizen of the country should stay alert and united to meet any future challenges. We have to be on the guard against state and non-state actors from across the border,” he said.
He said that the Indian Navy will not pose any threat to any peace-loving nation but will build a sense of confidence and mutual trust with all big-small nations in the Indian Ocean Region.
“We need to safeguard the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean to maintain and promote peace and trade in the region. We care about the Indian Ocean and we will take strong action if anyone tries to disturb the peace,” he said.
He said that the due impetus has been given for the timely acquisition of state-of-the-art weapons, sensors, and platforms, adding that the government has given more freedom and support to armed forces to make decisions in the nation’s interest.
“We are committed to far-reaching changes in our defence preparedness,” he said.
“You cannot buy a confident Navy. A confident Navy is always built by a confident government,” he said, adding that the Indian Navy has the confidence which no other country in the Indian Ocean possesses.
Underlining the importance of Oceans in the development trajectory of a nation, he said, oceans are a gateway of opportunities as well as grave threats if the maritime forces are not alert.
He said that the Indian Navy should be the last men standing in the Indian Ocean Region.
Describing INS Khanderi as a ‘potent combatant’, Singh said it is a matter of great pride that India is one of the few countries capable of constructing their own submarine.
“The submarines not only benefit the industry but also help evolve a positive culture of stringent quality control and complex engineering. It brings plough-back benefits for the economy of the nation at large with significant contributions towards ‘Make in India’,” he said.
Singh termed the commissioning of INS Khanderi as yet another significant and historic step in showcasing the will and intent of the Government.
“The name Khanderi is inspired by the dreaded ‘Sword Tooth Fish’ a deadly fish known to hunt whilst swimming close to the bottom of the ocean. Khanderi is also the name of an island fort built by great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He was one of the first Indian rulers in the medieval era to recognise the importance of strong Navy. Commissioning of INS Khanderi will bring same valour and sharpness back on the sea,” he said.
INS Khanderi is the second of Kalvari class diesel-electric attack submarines of the Indian Navy. It has been built in India to the French Scorpene design and is the second submarine of the Project-75.
Built indigenously by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, INS Khanderi is a lethal addition to Navy’s conventional submarine arsenal and is designed for silent and stealthy sub-surface operations.
The first submarine was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 6, 1968, and was decommissioned on October 18, 1989, after 20 years of service to the nation.
Singh, later at an event, launched warship ‘Nilgiri’, the first of the Indian Navy’s seven new stealth frigates with enhanced stealth features fitted with State-of-the-art weapons and sensors.
“Today I am feeling immense satisfaction and pride at the launch of the mighty warship ‘Nilgiri’. This multi-mission frigate would be capable of dealing with conventional and unconventional threats to India’s maritime interests,” he said.
The Defence Minister said that India was making concerted efforts to modernise the Navy and equip it with the best platforms, weapons and sensors.
“Our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi is aware that, any credible defence of a country is based on the indigenous defence capability,” he said.
In Video:We’re capable of giving Pak much bigger blow: Rajnath Singh