India is willing to challenge status quo, if the status quo becomes a tool for the exploitation of helpless citizens and the provisions of governance, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday, addressing the diamond jubilee celebration of the National Defence College. His comments came amid the ongoing standoff with China which also found an oblique reference in the minister’s speech as he said India has been facing other challenges on its borders. “India is a peace-loving country. We believe that differences should not become disputes. We attach importance to the peaceful resolution of differences through dialogue,” the defence minister said.
Outlining how India’s approach towards national security has changed in the last six years and will change in the coming years, Rajnath said, “We remain steadfast in the desire to protect our interests beyond the borders in areas where our people reside and our security interests converge. We also believe that in a globalised and interconnected world, a country’s security interests are interlinked by shared and secure commons.”
“We have undertaken a three-pronged approach towards internal security challenges as well. This includes development of areas affected by terrorism along with the provision of justice to the aggrieved. We are also willing to challenge status quo, if the status quo becomes a tool for the exploitation of helpless citizens and the provisions of governance. We are cognizant of the fact that India’s stability and security are closely associated with the ability to grow economically at a desirable rate,” Rajnath said.
Talking about India’s ties with the neighbourhood countries, the minister said, “With the exception of Pakistan, given its agenda of fuelling terrorism, India has improved its relations with all neighbours. We have invested heavily to help and support our friends to forge a relationship of mutual respect and mutual interest.”
“We have achieved substantial success in working with progressive and like-minded countries to not only expose Pakistan’s regressive policies but also make it increasingly difficult to continue with its previous business as usual approach,” the minister added.