India will give befitting reply to provocation, warns Modi | India News


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday promised a befitting reply to the killing of Indian soldiers by Chinese troops in Ladakh. In a sharp response which can intensify the border confrontation, the PM said, “I want to assure the nation that the sacrifice made by our soldiers will not go in vain. India’s integrity and sovereignty is supreme for us, and no one can stop us from defending it. Nobody should have an iota of doubt about this. India wants peace. But when provoked, India will give a befitting reply.”
The remark, at the beginning of Modi’s interaction with chief ministers on the fight against coronavirus, came against the backdrop of criticism of the Centre’s response to the Chinese aggression, and marked the country going a step higher on the escalatory ladder on the LAC.
The intent to avenge the loss of lives — the single biggest toll since a clash between the two sides in 1967 — came through clearly as the PM hailed the way the officers and jawans fought when they were ambushed by a numerically superior PLA contingent on Monday. “The country will be proud of the fact that our soldiers killed (their attackers) before they were martyred,” Modi said.
He also seemed to refer to China’s apparent edge in military capabilities and stronger muscle and said the asymmetry would be no deterrent. “Whatever may be the situation and circumstances, India will firmly protect every inch of the country’s land and its self-respect,” the PM said at the meeting with CMs where a two-minute silence was observed in honour of those who lost their lives. He called them “brave sons of Mother India”.
The day also saw foreign minister S Jaishankar bluntly telling his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the attack on Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley was “premeditated and planned” and would seriously impact bilateral ties, as well as the beginning of boycott of Chinese goods and technology, if China did not take corrective measures.
Blaming China for the outbreak of hostilities, Modi said while India always stood for peace and relied on talks for the resolution of differences, it could not run away from confrontation when it was forced on it. “We never provoke anyone, but we also do not compromise with the integrity and sovereignty of our country. Whenever it was needed, we have demonstrated our strength, proving our capabilities in protecting and defending the integrity and sovereignty of the country. Sacrifice and resilience are part of our national character, but at the same time bravery and valour are also equally a part of it,” the PM said.
The remark was strikingly similar to the promise of retaliation Modi made in the wake of terror attacks, organised from within Pakistan, on Indian security forces at Uri and Pulwama. In both cases, the pledges of retaliation were made good by launching strikes by special forces and the IAF on targets inside Pakistan.
While China is a far stronger adversary, sources in the government described the PM’s statement as reflecting the resolve that India would not refrain from using force to resist China’s expansionist designs along the LAC. “From now on, anything is possible,” a senior government source said, indicating a major shift from the playbook India used in the standoff at Doklam in 2017 where it resisted Chinese land grab but decided not to publicise the resistance.
The PM made it clear the PLA’s assault in Galwan Valley had breached India’s pain threshold, forcing it to exercise options it had not favoured so far. “India is culturally a peace-loving country. Our history has been that of a peace-loving country. In every era, we have wished for peace and welfare of the entire world and humanity. We have always worked closely with our neighbours in a cooperative and friendly manner. We have always wished for their development and welfare. Whenever there have been differences of opinion, we have always tried to ensure that those differences never turned into a dispute,” he said.



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