Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said India needs to be more powerful than China in terms of military preparedness, adding the world is aware of that country’s expansionist designs.
IMAGE: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat performs Shastra Puja during the celebration on the occasion of Dussehra festival, at RSS headquarter in Nagpur, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo
Speaking at the Sangh’s annual Vijayadashami rally, which this time was limited to an indoor event attended by 50 ‘swayamsevaks’ due to COVID-19 guidelines, Bhagwat said India needs to be militarily better prepared against China.
Many countries are now standing up to China, he said.
Claiming that China was shocked at India’s response to its intrusion, Bhagwat said, “Our defence forces, government and people responded sharply to China’s efforts to encroach on our territories.”
“We dont know how it will react. So the way forward is to be alert and prepared. We should be more powerful than China in terms of military preparedness, economic conditions, international relations and also relations with neighbouring countries,” he said.
The government should forge an alliance against China with immediate neighbours like Nepal, Sri Lanka and others, he said.
“India needs to grow bigger in power and scope than China,” he added.
“China encroached on our borders amid the pandemic,” he said, adding the world knows the expansionist nature of that country. He cited Taiwan and Vietnam as examples of the Chinese expansionist designs.
“We intend to be friendly with all. This is our nature. But mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable. Our detractors must know this by now,” he said.
Responding to Bhagwat’s remarks on China, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, ‘Deep inside, Mr Bhagwat knows the truth. He is just scared to face it. The truth is China has taken our land and GOI & RSS have allowed it.’
Bhagwat said India is a Hindu Rashtra and Hindutva is the essence the country’s selfhood.
“When the RSS says Hindustan is a Hindu Rashtra, it does not have any political or power-centred concept in its mind,” Bhagwat said.
He said the term Hindutva has been distorted by appending a ritualistic connotation to it.
The Sangh believes the term is applicable to all 1.3 billion people in the country who call themselves the sons and daughters of Bharatvarsh…and who are proud of the heritage of their ancestors, he said.
On the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Bhagwat said it is not against any particular religious community, but ‘some people misled our Muslim brothers’ claiming it was aimed at restricting their population.
“There was opposition to CAA claiming it was being used to check the Muslim population in the country. In fact, no Indian citizen was threatened due to CAA,” he said.
Before the issue could be discussed further, the focus shifted to coronavirus, which overshadowed all other topics, he added.
“We need not fear coronavirus, but should be alert and cautious. We cannot stop living. Coronavirus is spreading but fatalities are less. Due to the pandemic, we have started learning the importance of hygiene, cleanliness, environment, family values all over again,” he said.
“Coronavirus has given rise to challenges of unemployment. Many lost jobs and labourers are now returning to cities. But the jobs may not be there. The challenge is to create employment opportunities in different places,” he said.
Bhagwat said before the pandemic, several issues which were in the public discourse took a backseat.
“Article 370 was abrogated, the country accepted the Supreme Court verdict on Ram temple with patience and understanding,” he said.
Bhagwat also praised the Centre for the agriculture and labour reform bills recently passed in Parliament, and said new policies should aim to make farmers aware of the modern agriculture science.
He also welcomed the government’s new education policy.
Stressing on self-reliance, he said while designing the agricultural policy, farmers should be empowered to control their seed banks, create manure, fertilisers and pesticides on their own or procure from neighbouring areas.
“The new policies should aim to make our farmers aware of modern agricultural science and also enable them to blend that knowledge with the time-tested, contextually relevant traditional knowledge,” Bhagwat said.
The policies should be such that a farmer is able to use the research findings and sell his produce without getting trapped under the pressure of market forces and middlemen, the RSS chief said.
Incorporating these changes immediately within the present agrarian and economic system might not be possible. In that case, the policies should focus on creating a conducive environment to translate the suggested changes into reality, he said.
“Some positive steps in the direction of assimilating this swa (selfhood) in our economic, agriculture, labour, manufacturing and education policy have been taken,” he said.
He further said a new education policy formed on the basis of extensive deliberations and dialogue has been launched and the Sangh has also welcomed it.
The RSS chief also said that ‘vocal for local’ is a great start in the exploration of possibilities of ‘swadeshi’.
A policy-making process where all people and parties concerned discuss and deliberate extensively and draw consentient conclusions fosters the spirit of oneness and trust among all.
“Fortunately, we can rely on the prevailing political leadership to engender the feeling of oneness and trust with regards to matters small and big among all people,” he said.
He further said the need to decentralise agriculture and manufacturing sectors by supporting small and medium scale enterprises and creating job opportunities has drawn the attention of many intellectuals alongside the policy-makers in this time of COVID-19.
Those employed in these sectors, from small-time and seasoned entrepreneurs to farmers, are all eager to taste entrepreneurial success for the nation.
“The government will need to provide extra cover for them so they can attain world-class standards that will allow them to stand a competitive chance alongside other economic giants of the world.
“Along with the allocation of funds, its actual disbursement on the ground has to be ensured so that they can restart again after six months of the corona crisis,” he said.
Bhagwat said the consciousness that has prevailed in the aftermath of COVID-19, realisation of the true meaning of self’, spirit of oneness with all, the importance of cultural values and environmental awareness, should not be disregarded.
“We must not drop the momentum, lose sight of these indispensable values and fall back in a pattern of insensitive behaviour. Gradual and consistent practice of right conduct and responsible behaviour of an entire society alone can bring rewards,” he added.