Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the fate of Jammu and Kashmir will change in the coming years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Hindustan Times reported.

Singh also asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led administration will undertake such developmental projects in Jammu and Kashmir that will make “people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” demand “to be a part of India”, PTI reported. The Union minister made these comments during the “Jammu and Kashmir Jan Samvad rally” via video conferencing.

“Many landmark decisions were taken under PM [Prime Minister] Modi’s leadership and the abrogation of Article 370 was one of them,” Singh said.

On August 5, the Centre split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories and stripped it of autonomy under Article 370. It also revoked Article 35A, the law which allowed the government of the former state to define “state subjects” and reserve for them certain rights, such as the right to own land and hold government jobs.

“Our promise as a party back in the days of [Bharatiya] Jan Sangha was fulfilled right after we formed the government with a thumping majority last year,” Singh claimed. “Article 370 and 35A were removed within 100 days of forming government at the Centre.” The defence minister said the decision was taken for the development of Jammu and Kashmir, which was among the Modi government’s top priorities.

He said that global leaders now respect and appreciate India, claiming that earlier, most countries sided with Pakistan on international platforms, when it came to Kashmir and Article 370. “That isn’t the case now,” Singh said.

Rajnath Singh on India-China border

Referring to the border standoff between India and China, the defence minister said the Centre was engaged in talks with the country at diplomatic and military levels, ANI reported. He said that China had also expressed their wish to resolve the border tension through talks.

“I’d like to inform [the] Opposition that our government won’t keep anyone in the dark,” Singh said. “I assure you that we won’t compromise with national pride in any situation.”

The BJP leader said India’s security capability has increased, PTI reported. “India is no longer a weak India,” he added. “Our strength in national security has risen. But this strength is not meant to frighten anyone but to secure our country.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been extremely vocal in attacking the government over the matter, asking it to come clean. On Tuesday, Ladakh’s Bharatiya Janata Party MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal claimed that the Chinese incursions took place during Congress rule.

On Saturday, Chief of Army Staff Manoj Mukund Naravane said the situation on India’s borders with China was “under control”, adding that a series of meetings between military heads of both sides had helped in defusing any tension.

Tensions between India and China escalated after soldiers from the two nations engaged in a standoff at the north Sikkim and eastern Ladakh borders over the past month. There were instances of physical fighting, in which some soldiers from both sides were injured. On June 8, China said that its military had reached a consensus with its Indian counterpart not to allow differences to escalate into disputes.

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