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India not expansionist, wants better ties with neighbours: Rajnath


Samba (J&K):  Asserting that India does not have expansionist ambitions, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said it has always endeavoured to have better ties with neighbours particularly Pakistan and China and all issues including border disputes and terrorism can be resolved through talks.

Singh, who started his three-day visit to forward areas along the borders with Pakistan and China, said India “only wants to defend its borders” and infiltration and transgressions from across the frontiers should stop. He said India was ready to take lead to improve ties with neighbours but would not compromise on honour and dignity.

“We want better relationships with China and Pakistan. Peace cannot prevail in Asia and the continent cannot prosper on the path of development” till India’s relations with them improve, Singh said while addressing ITBP troops, who guard India’s border with China, at a function here.

“Whether it is a question of border disputes or issues of terrorism, I feel all the issues can be resolved through talks,” he said, adding, “India is a peace loving country. We only want to defend our borders.”

“India has never been an expansionist country. Neither we have been expansionist nor we will be in future.

“Why I am saying this with full determination because India is the only country in the world where saints and sages have not only considered people living within the borders as its citizens, but also the other people living in the world,” he said.

“We have given the message to the world about the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — the whole world is a family… due to this we want good relations with all,”

Not only with China, but Indian wants “heart-to-heart” relationship with all neighbouring countries, he said.

Earlier speaking to reporters, Singh said, “I always wish for better relationship with our neighbours. It is always an endeavour from our side. We have extended our hand (of friendship to Pakistan and China).”

He was replying to a volley of questions about major ceasefire violations by Pakistan and transgressions on Sino- Indian border.

On the issue of dialogue with Pakistan in the backdrop of heavy shelling and firing on Indian civilian population, he said, “I have said that India wants better relations with the neighbours. Better relations can be built. Pakistan should come forward, both the sides should come forward. India is ready to take lead.”

Replying to a question about increase in border skirmishes and plight of people living along border, Singh said, “I want to reassure the people of the country that there will be no compromise with the security, honour and dignity of the country by our government.”

“I want that Pakistan should come forward so that relations between India and Pakistan are better as both are neighbours. But at the same time, we won’t compromise on safety, security, honour and dignity of the country,” Singh said.

Asked whether India was hopeful of a positive outcome from Indo-Pak flag meeting on LoC today, he parried a direct reply saying that Pakistan Rangers DG had met him and given an assurance on this.

On the issue of compensation to border firing victims, Singh said that his government has enhanced the ex-gratia relief from Rs one lakh to Rs five lakh.

The Home Minister said that a decision would soon be taken on proposal for construction of bunkers.

Replying to another question about Pakistan targeting Indian fishermen last week, he said that talks are going on and officials are deliberating on it.

Asked about the working of the PDP and BJP government in the state, he said that “it is running fine”.

Addressing the ITBP troops, Singh recalled the words of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that you can change a friend but not a neighbour.

“India has always tried to ensure better relations with the neighbours,” he said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has been working in this direction.

“During our swearing in ceremony, he had invited all the heads of neighbouring countries and it was probably first such step. We had not only invited them to shake hands but to have heart-to-heart relations”, he said.

“Our Prime Minister also took a lead to have better relationship with the China but at the same time he strongly raised that pending issues between China and India should be resolved.

“He also batted strongly for stopping transgressions and he said it openly and without any hesitation,” Singh said.

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