'India Took Precaution During Balakot Strikes, but Things May Change': Rajnath Singh Warns Pakistan
The defence minister said India's recognition of Pakistan's existence does not mean it has accepted its 'occupation' of parts of Kashmir.
Rajnath Singh took charge as Minister of Defence in newly elected PM Modi's cabinet on Saturday, June 1, 2019. (PTI)
Jaipur: In a warning to Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said India took "great precaution" and did not attack Pakistan or its Army while carrying out strikes on a terror camp in Balakot but things may change if the neighbouring country does not mend its ways.
Singh also said India's recognition of Pakistan's existence does not mean it has also accepted the country's "occupation" of parts of Kashmir.
"We took great precaution and did not attack Pakistan or its Army. We targeted only terror training camps in Balakot," he said at an event at a village near here. "Par agar aage aisa hi chalta raha, toh kuch kaha nahi ja sakta (but if it continues like this, then things may change)."
On Monday, Army Chief Bipin Rawat hinted that India may go beyond the Balakot strikes if Pakistan continues to push terrorists into India.
Singh said Pakistan has been frequently using terrorism as a tool to destabilise India which was unacceptable. He said Pakistan has not been able to "digest" the withdrawal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, but ultimately the neighbouring country will have to accept it.
"I have reiterated this suggestion to Pakistan to consider what happened in 1971...what will happen to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) this time," he said.
Singh said that 24 seats were left vacant in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for PoK and India does not accept Pakistan's occupation of the territory.
IAF fighter jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama terror attack.
Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
India's action evoked strong reactions from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian Ambassador.
Paying tribute to Jansangh founder Deendayal Upadhyay, Singh said he and another party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee opposed Article 370 and the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and struggled to end it.
"This promise to scrap Article 370 was included in BJP's election manifestos. With abrogation of Article 370 BJP has proved that there is no difference in the words and deeds of the party," he said.
Even Muslims in the country have welcomed abrogation of Article 370, he added.
The defence minister also visited a memorial of Upadhyay at Dhanakya where he spent eight years of his childhood.
Upadhyay's birth anniversary function at Dhankya was also attended by RSS Sah Sarkarywah Gopal Krishna, Union minister Santosh Gangwar and Jaipur (Rural) MP Rajyawardhan Rathore.
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