The bravery and valour displayed by the armed forces during the Galwan valley clashes and the recent face-off in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh is commendable and any amount of praise for them is not enough, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.
Singh's comments during an address at industry chamber FICCI came a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused the government of downplaying the threat posed by China along the Line of Actual Control and saying it was "asleep" and not ready to accept the situation.
The defence minister also took an indirect dig at Gandhi for "doubting" the government's intention in the handling of the border row with China and said politics can not be done on the basis of "falsehood".
"Any amount of praise is not enough for the armed forces the way they displayed bravery and valour, be it in Galwan or Tawang," Singh said.
"We have never questioned the intention of any leader in the opposition, we have only debated on the basis of policies. Politics should be based on truth. Politics cannot be done on the basis of falsehood for a long time," he said, without naming anyone.
"The process of taking the society towards the right path is called 'rajniti' (politics). I do not understand the reason behind doubting anyone's intention always," Singh said.
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a fresh clash in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh 's Tawang sector on December 9, in a first such major flare-up after the deadly hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
In his remarks, Singh also said that India aspires to become a superpower for global good and prosperity, and it does not have any intention to even capture one inch of land of any country, seen as a thinly veiled reference to China's aggressive behaviour along the borders.
"When I am saying we aspire to become a superpower, it should never be construed that we want to dominate over countries in the world. We do not have any intention to even capture one inch of the land of any country," he said.
"If we want to become a superpower, then we want to become a superpower for global good and prosperity. The world is our family," Singh added.
The defence minister also said that India's economy was among the six-seven large economies during the time of Independence, and when China witnessed a new system following the 1949 revolution, its GDP was less than that of India. He said though India and China kept marching together till 1980, the neighbouring country went ahead riding on economic reforms.
"In the year 1991, economic reforms started in our country too. But China has made such a long jump in a short time that, except the US, it has left behind all other countries of the world in its pace of development," he said.
"India returned to the list of top 10 economies in the 21st century. But the kind of development that should have happened in India was not happening," the defence minister said, adding that a new era of development began in 2014 when Narendra Modi became the prime minister.
Singh said when Modi took charge of the government, the Indian economy used to be the ninth-largest globally and its size was about two trillion dollars.
"Today, India's economy has become the fifth-largest economy with a size of three-and-a-half trillion dollars," he said.
In his address, Singh also gave a rundown of the achievements of the Modi government in the areas of infrastructure, health, education, banking, trade and investment, foreign direct investment and overall economic reforms.
"Remember the time of 2013, when investment firm Morgan Stanley coined the term 'Fragile Five', which is the five countries of the world whose economy was faltering badly. The countries in this 'Fragile Five' were Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and India," he said.
"Today India has moved out of the category of 'Fragile Five' and joined the 'Fabulous Five' economies of the world," he said. Singh said India's stature has increased significantly on the world stage under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.
Now, India is working on setting the agenda on the world stage, he said.
At the same time, the defence minister talked about some problems facing the nation, including that of inflation.
He said inflation has gone up due to disruptions in the global supply chain and other logistical bottlenecks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict.
"The problem of inflation is before us as a major issue. In fact, the world had not fully recovered from the supply chain disruptions and logistical bottlenecks caused by COVID-19 when the Ukraine conflict came before us," Singh said.
"Whatever may be the reason, if the problem is in front of us, then we have to find a solution for it. Not only India, but the economy of the whole world is passing through a very difficult phase, but if you see, inflation is less in India as compared to other major countries," he said.