Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said terrorism and lack of socio-economic development was the reason behind making Ladakh a Union Territory, reported ANI. Singh is currently in Leh for a three-day visit to Ladakh that began on Sunday.

“People were devoid of even basic facilities,” he said. “I don’t think any sensitive government will tolerate it.”

Addressing an event on the second day of his visit, Singh claimed that terrorism has now reduced in Ladakh after it became a Union Territory. “There is mutual coordination among the Army, paramilitary forces and [the] local police,” he said. “We have data and figures that terrorism has reduced here.”

The defence minister also said that many people had doubted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intention after the Centre revoked the special status granted to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Refuting claims that Modi’s had “vested political interests” behind the decision, Singh clarified that the prime minister wants the political process to start in both regions. “He spoke to political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir and will speak to leaders in Ladakh soon,” he said.

The defence minister also paid tribute to the soldiers who died in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June last year, and said that India will not forget their sacrifice.

He said that India does not resort to any kind of aggression, but is always ready to give a befitting reply, if provoked, according to a release by the defence ministry. Singh said that India’s stand has been resolving disputes through dialogue with neighbouring countries but added that the safety and security of the country will not be compromised at any cost.

The defence minister also inaugurated 63 infrastructure projects implemented by the Border Roads Organisation in Ladakh. “I’m confident that the bridges inaugurated today will play a crucial role in strengthening security as well as promoting the economic development of the respective states through improved connectivity,” he tweeted.