ALSO READDokalam standoff: India, China hold border personnel meet in Nathu La Sikkim standoff is different: China dismisses Jaishankar's Beijing outreach Sikkim standoff: Mulayam warns govt against joint attack from Pak, China Sikkim standoff: We can also enter Kashmir to help Pak, says Chinese media Remember 1962 defeat: Chinese media warns India again amid Sikkim standoff
Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday played down the heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Dokalam standoff, stating that India was fully equipped to face any challenge. He said the government was confident about the steps it was taking in this regard. "We are well equipped to face any challenge whether externally or internally," Singh told reporters. The MoS PMO was responding to a question about the recent 'threat' by China through its official media asking India to withdraw troops from the Sikkim sector. "I think for us the more important thing is to see what we are doing. I am not here to respond to what somebody is tweeting from the opposition parties. We are confident about what we are doing," he said. China had recently said that it had conveyed its firm stand to India that it must take "concrete actions" by immediately pulling back troops from Doklam in the Sikkim section with "no strings attached" to resolve the current standoff. The BJP leader also said that the government was giving "befitting reply" with regard to ceasefire violations on the Indo-Pakistan border, and was dealing with terrorism in Kashmir with a "stern hand". On the appearance of militant Zakir Musa's posters in Kashmir asking youths and students to keep away from Independence day functions, Singh said such posters have come up in the past too. "The government will take a call on this. The more these (terrorist) leaders come up with such things, the more they expose themselves. The youths cannot be threatened by the diktats of these militants," he said. The Union minister also hailed the "proactive" role of security forces on the borders. "It is going to reap results sooner or later. I am sure this (proactive role of forces) will bring terrorism to its logical conclusion," he said. Singh also emphasised that the Centre's stand on Article 35A granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir was clear. "BJP's stand on Article 35A is clear. The Opposition is waiting in the wings for this coalition government (in the state) to fall. We will not oblige them," he said. Replying to a question on Uttar Pradesh governor directing all madrasas to sing the national song on Independence day, Singh said, "Vande Mataram is a symbol of India's national ethos.
It is, therefore, wrong to associate it with any particular religion or sect"."We need to educate the masses on this more intensely. Vande Mataram was composed in 1870. It later become a national song in tribute to martyrs, irrespective of religion. It is a poem which became an unifying force in pre-Independence and post-Independence era. How can this be a dividing force? It has been wrongly perceived". On the recent infant deaths at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh for want of oxygen, the Union minister said, "I am sure there is a responsible government in the state. We have a CM who is extremely proactive. Whatever is required, will be done. What has happened is bad and all of us feel for it.