Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said no power in the world can take Kashmir away from India and if need be, forces can cross border to protect India’s territorial integrity.
“Kashmir is, was and will always be ours. No one can take it from us,” Singh said, addressing the CNN News18 Rising India Summit, Hindustan Times reported.
He praised the Indian army for its valour to secure the country and warned Pakistan, stating “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 said India wanted good ties with Pakistan, provided it stopped aiding terrorists.
“Now the US is condemning Pakistan. I don’t know what happened to Pakistan. We want good relations with Pakistan but it has refused to accept our offer of friendship.
“Pakistan is giving legitimacy to UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed who is establishing a political party there and wants to contest in elections,” he said.
The union minister said the Indian government was keen on finding a permanent solution to the Kashmir problem and was open to speak to anyone.
To resolve the Kashmir issue, Singh said, the government-appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, a former intelligence bureau chief, who is moving forward and has invited people from all sections for talks.
He said Kashmir’s children were like his own and would not allow anyone to brainwash them into radicalisation.
The minister said he had personally asked Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to ignore cases filed against the first-time stone-pelters.
Earlier in 2018, the IoK 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 the other parts of the country.
On the issue of terrorism, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has succeeded in getting global consensus and managed to bring the international community on board.
This article originally appeared in Hindustan Times.