The 1971 war between India and Pakistan showed that Partition on religious lines was a historic mistake, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday.

Singh made the remarks at the inauguration of Swarnim Vijay Parv – marking 50 years of India’s victory in the war – at Delhi’s India Gate.

“Pakistan was born in the name of one religion but it could not remain one,” the defence minister said. “After the defeat of 1971, our neighbouring country has constantly been waging a proxy war in India.”

Singh alleged that Pakistan was trying to break India by promoting terrorism. “The Indian armed forces foiled its motives in 1971, and now, work is going on to end terrorism from its roots,” he said. “We have already been victorious in the direct war, and we will win in the proxy war as well.”

The defence minister said that the 1971 war was an excellent example of “our ethics, democratic traditions and fairness”.

“It has rarely been seen in history that after a country defeated another country in a war, it transferred power to the political representatives there, rather than seek to impose its dominance,” Singh said.

During the event, a recorded message was shared, in which he lauded the soldiers of the Indian armed forces, and paid tributes to those who fought in the 1971 war.

The minister also said that India has contributed to establishing democracy in Bangladesh. “Today, we are extremely happy that Bangladesh has moved rapidly on the path of development, and is a source of inspiration for the rest of the world,” he added.

Singh also referred to the death of Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. Referring to Bipin Rawat, the defence minister said that the “country has lost a brave soldier, an able advisor and a lively person”, according to The Indian Express.