Pithoragarh: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said India wants good relations with its neighbours but warned that it will give a fitting reply to any country that attempts to occupy even an inch of its land.

Singh, a senior BJP leader, was in poll-bound Uttarakhand to launch the second leg of the ‘Shaheed Samman Yatra’ from Jhaulkhet Moonakot in Pithoragarh district.

“We want good ties with our neighbours. India has never attacked any country. Neither has it ever occupied a foreign territory. Having good ties with neighbours has been India’s culture but some people don’t understand this. I don’t know whether it is their habit or temperament,” he said.

Naming Pakistan, Singh said it keeps trying to destabilise India through terrorist activities and a stern message has already been given to it.

“We have given a clear message to our neighbour on the western border that if it cross its limits, we will just not retaliate on the borders but can even cross over into its territory and do surgical and airstrikes,” he said.

“We have one more neighbour (which does not seem to understand things),” the defence minister said without naming China.

Singh said he must make it clear that if there is an attempt by any country in the world to “occupy even an inch of our land, India will give a fitting reply to it”.

Noting that everyone was aware of India’s defining victory in 1971, Singh warned India’s neighbours of not living under any delusion.

The defence minister said there was an attempt to create misapprehensions in Nepal about a road from Lipulekh Pass to Mansarovar through Dharchula that was inaugurated by him recently.

“But it has failed to affect our close cultural ties with Nepal,” he said.

Conferring Nepal Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma with the honorary rank of Indian Army Chief recently is a reassertion of India’s close cultural ties with Nepal, Singh said.

Launching the second leg of the Shaheed Samman Yatra, Singh said the state government should ensure that names of martyrs and names of their villages should be inscribed on the Sainya Dham being built in Dehradun as a tribute to them.

Soil from homes of 1,734 martyrs’ families in Uttarakhand are being collected in urns to be brought to Dehradun and used in the construction of the Sainya Dham, a vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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