India has the capability and power to deal with external threats to its security and "anyone who causes trouble will not be spared", said Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, the Defence Minister said that India has the capability to deal with any country having expansionist agenda.
"If a country is expansionist and tries to occupy our land, occupy a piece of our land, then India has the capability and power to not let its land go into anyone's hand, whether it is any country of the world," he said.
He was responding to a query about the expansionist goals of China.
The minister said that when he visited eastern Ladakh after the Galwan clash, the morale of soldiers was high. "The morale of our troops was and is high. The restraint, valour and bravery they have exhibited this time, the more it is praised, it is less," he said.
Asked if there is a possibility of Galwan-like incident as China is not willing to pull back from the standoff in eastern Ladakh, he said the Army will not allow "the country's pride to be dented".
The Union Minister also spoke about the ongoing farmers' protest against the new farm laws.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that no "meaningful solution" has come out of diplomatic and military level talks with China to resolve the prolonged standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The Minister also observed that there is a status quo and it is not a positive development.
The Defence Minister said that if status quo continues, there cannot be a reduction in the deployment of troops.
Rajnath Singh referred to the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) meeting on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held virtually earlier this month and said the next round of military talks can take place anytime.
"It is true that in order to reduce the standoff between India and China, talks were taking place on a military and diplomatic level. But no success has been achieved so far. There will be a next round of talks on a military level which can take place anytime. But no meaningful outcome has come and there is status quo," he said.
"If there is status quo, it is natural how deployment can be reduced. There will be no reduction in our deployment and I fell their deployment will also not come down. I don't think that status-quo is a positive development at all. Talks are on and they result in a positive outcome, that is our expectation," he added.
Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi over attacks on the government over farm laws, Singh has said that he knows more about agriculture than the Congress leader as he was born in an agriculture family to a farmer-mother and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also born in a poor family.
He said that agriculture laws were in favour of farmers and talks should not be held with "yes or no" mindset.
The remarks of the minister came ahead of the sixth round of talks between the government and the farm unions protesting against the new farm laws enacted by the government.
The Minister said that farmers should hold clause by clause talks on the three laws and the government will make amendments if there is a need to do so.
Rajnath Singh, a former union agriculture minister, said the government is totally sensitive towards farmers and the poor of the country and "their pain is our pain".
He said the government cannot take decisions which are not in the interest of farmers. "Rahulji is younger to me and I know more than him about agriculture. Because I have been born from the womb of a farmer-mother. I am the son of a farmer and we cannot take decisions against the farmers. Our Prime Minister was also born from the womb of a poor mother. I want to say this only and there is no need to say anything else," Singh said.
Noting that farmers are "annadatas" and "backbone of the economy," Defence Minister strongly disapproved of remarks such as "Naxals" or "Khalistanis" in the context of protesting farmers and said "allegations should not be made by anyone" against them.
He has said that the farm laws have been made in the interest of farmers and the protesting farmers should see their implementation for two years.
He said the government was "pained" by the protest by farmers.
Asked about "Naxals" or "Khalistani" remarks made in the past in the context of protesting farmers, he said such allegations should not be made.
Singh has said that he was hurt by derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the farmers' protest and said that prime minister is not just a person but an institution.
He stated that people of the country have given their support and affections to the PM Modi who was Chief Minister of Gujarat for 14 years before assuming the post of Prime Minister six years back.
The Minister also took a strong objection to remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month concerning protest by farmers on farm laws and said no leader of a country should speak about India's internal affairs.
In another development, backing the "anti-conversion" legislation brought by Uttar Pradesh government, Defence Minister said that he personally does not support conversion for marriage.
"I want to ask why there should be a conversion. The practice of mass conversions should stop. As far as I know, in the Muslim religion, one cannot marry someone from another religion. I personally do not approve of conversion for marriage," Rajnath Singh told ANI in an exclusive interview.
He was responding to a question about the misuse of "love-jihad law" enacted by the Uttar Pradesh government. Rajnath Singh is Lok Sabha MP from Lucknow. He said there is a difference between "natural marriage" and forceful religious conversion for marriage.
The Uttar Pradesh government has enacted a law to prohibit fraudulent and forcible conversions, including a conversion for marriage.
The Defence Minister also said that "terrorism and separatism were defeated" in local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir and rejected allegations of National Conference and PDP that there was no "level-playing field" in the recently concluded DDC election.
"There was a level playing field. Everyone was free. Nobody was under detention and were free to move about. But the results which came out of the local bodies and gram panchayat polls have made it clear that terrorism and separatism were defeated and democracy won in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
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