With political temperatures between India and Pakistan running high, Indian Union Minister of Defence- Rajnath Singh has certainly given the pro-India agenda a new edge.
Digressing from his conserved and diplomatic working style from the first term of the Modi government as Union Home Minister, in the second term as the Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh has shifted gears to a more aggressive and proactive approach when it comes to the issues related to national security.
Rajnath Singh has also certainly taken the lead to counter Pakistan’s vile anti-India rhetoric whether it be the cowardly nuclear blackmail or open justification and promotion of terrorist acts against India.
Comments by the Union Defence Minister on Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir are sure in line with this new proactive and aggressive avatar, earlier Union Minister had said in a public address in Panchkula, “If talks are held with Pakistan, it will now be on Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)” ;essentially reshaping the discourse towards from a Pakistani centric to an India centric view.
Rajnath Singh’s comments on India’s nuclear doctrine were another indication of this change in approach when he had stated that while so far India has been committed to ‘No First Use’ in terms of nuclear weapons, depending on the circumstances this might change in future. This message which caught a lot of analysts off- guard also marked a paradigm shift in terms of India’s nuclear doctrine.
Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.”
Rajnath Singh over his tenure has also been aggressively pushing for indigenisation of defence production. Recently, at the India International Security Expo, Rajnath Singh pointed out that India has to reduce its dependence on imported weapons as it did not align with India’s plans to become a global player.
He said, “They said that there are many business-related proposals, and there are matters related to imports and exports, and the minister should be careful of all this otherwise someone will raise a finger (Nahi to ungli uth jayegi).”
He further added, “A minister who is afraid of corruption charges, should refrain (from taking decisions), Rajnath Singh is not worried about all this. People and big industry organisations in this country know who is what (kaun kya hai). I am not worried at all. Come. My doors are open. Whatever help I can give, the defence ministry will give. This is an assurance I would like to give you,” he said.
Rajnath Singh has also been successful in adding the much-needed efforts to keep the armed forces motivated, from firing heavy calibre machine guns to taking sorties in Indian Fighter jets, Rajnath Singh has certainly redefined the responsibilities as a defence minister to not be just limited to the administration but to form a deeper synergy between soldiers and the administration.
While these actions surely keep the soldiers motivated they are also useful in sending subtle signals to the enemies, in this case, Pakistan, which has been accelerating its anti-India propaganda since the legislative developments in regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Nonetheless, with this new avatar, Rajnath Singh is sure to tackle the challenges which have hindered the growth of Indian defence forces for long. This aggressiveness and proactivity is surely the need for the hour to counter a hostile rogue neighbour.