TEHRAN (Iran News) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday used his most important speech of the year to urge China to respect India’s sovereignty in the wake of deadly border tensions.
With talks on easing a military build-up in their Himalayan border region at a stalemate, Modi told an Independence Day ceremony at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi that India’s sovereignty was “supreme” and that relations with neighbors depended on security and trust, AFP reported.
The Hindu prime minister mentioned confrontations with Pakistan and China on their disputed borders, but without naming either country.
“Anyone who has cast an eye on the country’s sovereignty, the country’s army has answered them in their own language,” he said.
“India’s integrity is supreme for us. What we can do, what our soldiers can do – everyone saw that in Ladakh,” referring to a border clash with Chinese troops in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas on June 15.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, which saw the two sides fighting with batons, stones, and bare fists.
China has also acknowledged that it suffered casualties but without giving numbers.
The two sides have blamed each other for the fighting and tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese troops, who also fought a border war in 1962, have since been sent to the region.
Modi said that relations with neighbors are now linked to “security, progress, and trust.”
“A neighbor isn’t just someone who shares our geography but those who share our hearts. Where the relationship is respected, it becomes warmer,” he said.
The 1.4-million-strong military would be built up, he added.
“India is just as committed to its security and strengthening its army as the attempts it has made for peace and harmony,” he said, stressing efforts to make India “self-reliant” in defense production.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews