Defend nation ‘but’ win hearts of people too: Defence Minister to troops in Jammu


Urges security forces to move forward with ‘sankalp’ of wiping out terrorism from J&K; Says troops need to be more vigilant to prevent Poonch like attacks; Avoid mistakes that hurt sentiments of people


Jammu, Dec 27  : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday called on the security forces to not just defend the nation but to win the hearts of the countrymen as well.

Singh also stated that every citizen of the country and the Government of India is standing by the soldiers and encouraged jawans to move ahead with the ‘sankalp’ (resolution) of wiping out the terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Singh, landed here this morning for security review amid ongoing operation in Rajouri-Poonch sector in the backdrop of recent terrorist attack on an Army convoy that left four soldiers dead and two injured.

Following the attack, some locals were allegedly picked up and tortured by security forces, during which three of them died while others were hospitalized. The Defence Minister also met families of the deceased and paid a visit to hospital to see injured on his visit to Jammu.

As per KNO, while addressing the troops at the Army’s Rajouri-based 25 Division headquarters, Singh said, “I agree that the responsibility of defending the country is on all of you. I want to make a very special request from all of you – while fulfilling the responsibility of defending the nation; you also have a bigger responsibility of winning the hearts of your countrymen on your shoulders.”

However, without making a mention about deaths of three civilians, Singh said, “Indian Army is not a normal force. It is more powerful and well equipped. You are protectors of the nation but at the same time, you also have to win the hearts of the citizens. The mistakes that hurt sentiments of the people must be avoided. Your role is very important and perform it seriously.”

The minister’s statement comes amid an outrage over the killing of three civilians in Poonch district on December 22.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration also announced compensation and jobs to the families of the dead civilians and said the medico-legal formalities were conducted and legal action on the matter has been initiated.

The army has ordered a ‘thorough internal investigation’ into the civilian deaths and said it is committed to extending full support and cooperation to investigators.

During his 9 minutes-5 second address to troops, Sinha said “While serving the nation, also keep yourself connected with its people and win their confidence”, adding “You have been playing such a role, but there is a need to perform it more seriously.”

Singh said the troops should visit people from time to time and ask about their well-being.

“While our aim is to win a war and eliminate terrorists, our bigger aim shall be to win the hearts of our people,” he retaliates.

He also called on the troops to move ahead with a pledge to eliminate terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, adding that the country has full confidence that they will succeed in their mission.

Earlier, Singh expressed grief over the death of four soldiers in the December 21 attack. He reaffirmed the commitment of government to take care of each and every need of soldiers and said, “Every soldier is very important for us; each of them is like our family member.” Pointing out that the entire country feels the same, adding “We cannot tolerate if someone casts an evil eye on you.”

Pointing out that there is no dearth of funds for the security and intelligence agencies to help avoid such incidents from recurring, he called for increased vigilance in the future.

“The martyrdom of a soldier cannot be repaid through compensation. Compensations cannot compensate for your sacrifices. I want to assure you that the government is committed to fulfil all your needs on priority,” said Singh adding, “vacuum created can never be fulfilled but we have to be firm to protect our motherland,” he said, assuring the troops that the government stands behind them.

He further added that India is grateful to the families contributing to nation building by sending their children to join the Indian Army despite many challenges—(KNO) 

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