STATE TIMES NEWSKathua/Samba: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted on Saturday that the Kashmir issue will be resolved and no power on the earth can stop it. Singh, who was in Jammu and Kashmir to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’ during the Kargil War, said Kashmir was in his heart and the government wanted it to become not only paradise of India but tourist paradise of the world. Stressing that creation of infrastructure is imperative for the development of any region, state or country, he said India is moving fast on every front and in the next decade or so it will become one of the top three economies in the world, replacing US, Russia or China. The defence minister inaugurated two strategically important bridges in Kathua and Samba districts of the state that will help in smooth mobility of security forces in the border areas. Inaugurating the bridge over the Ujh river in Kathua, he said, “Kashmir Ki Samasya Ka Hal Ho Key Raheyga, Duniya Ki Koi Taqat Nahi Rook Shakti Hai (Resolution of Kashmir issue is bound to happen and no power on earth can stop it).” “If not through talks, then we know how,” Singh said. He asked the people to have faith in him and added “whatever I say, I say with full responsibility”. “As Home Minister, I tried and expressed readiness for talks with them to address the issue. I told the state leaders to initiate the steps (for talks) and they did while I deputed some national leaders…But there was no response,” he said. Singh was the Union Home Minister in the previous government. Taking a dig at separatist leaders, the defence minister said those parroting ‘Azadi Azadi’ (freedom) have failed to tell the youth of Kashmir what type of Azadi they want. “Which country’s example they have before them. Would they desire Pakistan-type Azadi?” He asked and said “such type of Azadi will not be acceptable to anyone”.
“Terrorists, who made Kashmir a hell, have been contained to an extent successfully by force. People say Kashmir is a paradise. Jammu and Kashmir together can be made a paradise again,” he said.
Lauding the Army, police and other security forces, Singh said the officers and jawans were performing their duties very well and “they will succeed”.
Later, the defence minister inaugurated the 617-metre Basantar bridge in Samba.
“Today our country is moving fast on every front and the entire world is acknowledging this reality…(you) have faith that in the next 10 to 11 years, India will replace America, Russia or China to become one of the top three economies in the world,” he said.
Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh said the former Prime Minister was of the opinion that a country needed to ensure maximum connectivity by roads and railway lines if it was to stand with developed nations.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is of the same view…by 2030-31, if we want India to join the three top economies of the world, we have to speed up the work on basic infrastructure,” he said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has a unique importance for the country and the Modi government is working to make it a hub of tourist activities so that holiday makers from across the globe throng the place.
Singh made it clear that the priority of the government is to ensure connectivity of border and rural areas of the country speedily.
He said it is the job of the Army and other security forces to secure the border but they cannot be successful unless they get full support of border residents.
“The people living on the borders are strategic assets of any nation. As Home Minister, I have visited these places and tried to address the problems being faced by the people, especially due to the Pakistani shelling,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the defence minister paid tributes to the soldiers martyred in the 1999 Kargil War at a memorial in Jammu and Kashmir’s Drass sector as the nation commemorated the 20th anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’.
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