Is India really prepared for war, asks Thackeray
Expressing serious concern over the continuing tensions on India's borders with Pakistan and China, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Monday wondered whether the country is really prepared for war.
"Jammu and Kashmir, which was peaceful for the past 10 years, is up in flames since the killing of Burhan Wani. China is outright issuing threats to us. Are we really prepared in case a war breaks out?" Thackeray asked.
His comments came in the second instalment of his customary, annual birthday-eve interview series to the party's publications 'Saamana' and 'Dopahar Ka Saamana'. Thackeray, who spoke with Saamana Executive Editor Sanjay Raut, MP, will turn 57 on June 27.
Thackeray decried suggestions that "Shiv Sena is the No. 1 enemy of the Bharatiya Janata Party" and said "dump all politics in the fire and pay attention to the nation's security".
"If Shiv Sena is their No. 1 enemy, then what about Pakistan and China? The Chinese dragon ... is now aggressively trying to pounce on us," he said.
The Sena chief said he was perturbed over what had gone wrong though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was globe-trotting.
"If the whole world is our friend, then why can't these two neighbours be restrained? Why not a single of our friends is openly coming to help and rein in our enemies?" Thackeray asked.
He pointed out that now China was openly "aggressive against India".
"It is all very nice to hear that India and China are very different now since the 1962 Sino-Indian war, but we cannot ignore China's present strength and we need to consider how we can grapple with that challenge effectively.
"If we continue to play politics over these serious issues, it will be a downright deceit of the people of the country. You will continue to win elections, but a war is war," Thackeray said.
He referred to a report in which China has claimed that Tibet is its hand and Leh, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan are its five claws.
"When it tightens the grip of its hand, do we have an iron fist to tackle it? Under such circumstances, when you have lost your domestic friends, will your global friends rush to your aid? As the Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray, used to warn, what will be the fate of the country if war actually erupts?" Thackeray asked.
Internally, the situation was not conducive, what with violence breaking out over beef and cow protection, he said. If a war erupts on the border, how many wars will they fight, he asked.
To a query, Thacekray dismissed the idea of the proposed bullet train, saying: "There's no need for it but the upcoming Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway was necessary as it will link the state's capital and its second capital."