‘Let’s stay prepared always’, says Farooq Abdullah on Indo-China border clash

Days after the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, National Conference President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Friday that India should always remain prepared for Chinese aggression.

Speaking at the launch of a book penned by senior journalist Brij Bhardwaj here, the Lok Sabha MP said, “We need to keep our (gun) powder dry as anything can happen any moment.”

He also spoke on several other subjects, including the Kashmir issue and the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ that’s being led by former party President Rahul Gandhi.

The National Conference leader said: “We want a discussion in the Parliament over the recent clash between the Indian and Chinese soldiers. In Arunachal Pradesh as well as in Ladakh, tension exists between China and India. Let’s hope that the issues can be solved through negotiations. But in any case, we need to keep the (gun) powder dry.”

On the Kashmir issue, Abdullah said: “As long as it’s not accepted that mistakes have been made in the past, and ensure that such things are not repeated in the future, Kashmiris won’t be part of India.”

Talking on claims of peace gradually returning to Jammu and Kashmir, Abduallah said: “If peace is being restored, why people working there are being told that they would either be sacked or their salaries won’t be paid if they don’t re-join duty?”

He also wondered if Jammu and Kashmir is getting investments, why Kashmiri Pandits are still reluctant to go there.

“I was held responsible for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from J&K. However, the lie did not stand tall for long. I was of this impression that Kashmiri Pandits would be brought back… but that has not happened,” he said.

Abdullah added that the government is spending just around 40 per cent of the funds on Kashmir while 60-70 per cent is being spent on Jammu.

Criticising the Centre, Abdullah said, “Hatred is being spread daily. We need to stay strong internally… if we are strong among ourselves, no one would be able to defeat us.”

The NC chief added that he would receive and welcome Rahul Gandhi when the Bharat Jodo Yatra arrives in J&K, adding that his son — Omar Abdullah, also a former Chief Minister — would take part in the Yatra.

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