March 2018 News

Kashmir Is Ours, Won't Mind Crossing Border To Protect It: Rajnath Singh

17 March 2018
The Indian Express

Srinagar: In an indirect warning to Pakistan, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said no power in the world can take Kashmir away from India and if required, forces are capable of crossing the border to protect the country's territorial integrity. 'Kashmir is, was and will be ours always,' Singh said, while addressing the CNN News18 Rising India Summit in the national capital. The Union minister made it clear that the government is keen on finding a permanent solution to Kashmir, which has been the bone of contention between the two countries for quite some time. 'We want lasting solution to the Kashmir problem and we are open to speaking to any party,' he said. To resolve the issue, Singh said that government-appointed interlocutor and former Intelligence Burueau chief Dineshwar Sharma has invited people from all sections for discussion. He said Kashmir's children were like his own and would not allow anyone brainwash them into radicalisation. 'I want to tell those who are trying to teach jihad to innocent Kashmiri youths that they should first learn the real concept of jihad in Islam,' Singh said, adding that he has personally requested Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ignore cases filed against the first-time stone pelters. Earlier in 2018, the state government withdrew cases registered against 9,730 people involved in stone-pelting incidents, including first-time offenders. 'We have forgiven first-time stone-pelters. They might have been influenced by others. They are young. We need to give them a second chance,' he said. The Home Minister said the government never differentiated between the children in Kashmir and those in other parts of the nation. The Union minister even slammed the neighbouring country for abetting and sponsoring terrorism and said India will maintain good relations with Pakistan only if the latter stopped aiding terrorists. 'Now, the US is condemning Pakistan. I don't know what has happened to Pakistan. We want good relations with Pakistan but it has refused to accept our offer of friendship,' he said. Singh added, 'Pakistan is giving legitimacy to UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed who is establishing a political party there and wants to contest in elections.' While praising the Indian Army for its valour and warning Pakistan, Singh said, 'We not only secure India within but can also cross the border to protect the country, if needed. No one should take it otherwise.' He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was successful in getting global consensus and bringing the international community together to fight terrorism. On the Maoist menace, Singh said, 'The battle against Naxals can't be won through bullets. We are taking several developmental initiatives in this direction. We are trying to reach those areas which have remained unreachable since independence.' He added, 'Naxalism was a huge problem for India but in the last four years we have now achieved major success in that space.'