In his first public address after being appointed the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a blistering attack on the Union government for the killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistan. The Gujarat CM said Pakistan was challenging us at the border not because our soldiers are weak, but because of the problems in Delhi.
“We need to change the government in Delhi as the solution lies in the hands of the Centre. We need a strong, patriotic government in Delhi to ensure the safety of our soldiers and sovereignty of our country,” Modi told the massive gathering of ex-servicemen in Rewari, Haryana. Former army chief General VK Singh was present on the dais.
Invoking former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi urged Pakistan to shun its anti-India attitude, saying terrorism has not helped anyone in the last 60 years. “Try it for 10 years and trust me, Pakistan will prosper if it does not allow terrorists to operate there,” Modi said while stressing that Vajpayee’s policies ensured peace between the two countries.
“Terrorism affects everyone. We can’t deal with it selectively.
Pakistan now has a democratic government and it was hoped that it would walk on the path of peace. But the way our soldiers were killed, it doesn’t look like Pakistan wants peace,” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said. “If we all fight against poverty, illiteracy, backwardness together, this land of Mahatma Gandhi will prosper.”
General VK Singh admitted that our defence policy was weak.
“Defence doesn’t seem to be taken seriously in this nation. If this nation has to be strengthened, the soldier must be respected,” the former army chief said. Saluting the jawans, he said no other country has soldiers who are better and braver than the ones India has. “Our officers, too, are ready to lay down their lives.”
Talking about the welfare of ex-servicemen, Modi demanded a white paper on ‘one rank, one pension for soldiers’. He told the ex-servicemen that had Vajpayee’s government returned to power in 2004, this would not have remained a problem to date as a solution had been found keeping all stakeholders in mind.
Highlighting the vacancies in the armed forces, Modi spoke about the insult meted out to soldiers. He did not name the minister in Nitish Kumar’s government who had said that soldiers join the armed forces to die for the country, but said it was because of such insults that youngsters don’t want to join the army.
“We need to change that,” Modi said while warning about the possibility of a cyber war. “We will need soldiers and youth who can participate in this new-age war. The government in Delhi will have to be prepared for this.”
Modi also spoke about the need to make defence procurement self-reliant. “Even small parts for weapons are exported. We need to become self-reliant when it comes to creating our weapons. We need education, skills and engineers for this. We should dream of exporting our own weapons,” he said.
Slamming the United Nations, he said the UNO has been formed to prevent World War III, but more countries are suffering from the new-age proxy war. “More soldiers have died to terrorists and Maoists in India than fighting at the border in recent times.
War has changed its colour and strategy; now, there will be no more war at the borders. Enemies try to fight proxy wars and the name of that war is terrorism, and Maoism,” Modi explained.
Terming the constitutional right of voting as the biggest gift to 18year olds, he said: “If you want a strong nation, strong government in Delhi, make sure you are registered to vote if you are aged above 18.
Help people who are over 18 to become registered voters.”Slamming vote-bank politics to appease a section of society, the BJP leader said society has been divided into many sections. “The so-called secular leaders who want to learn secularism should learn it from our soldiers, who work together for our nation,” he said.
Modi alleged that the Union government tried to divide the army on the basis of religion. “We will not let the army be divided on the grounds of religion,” he said, referring to the Sachar Committee report.