Amarinder pleads for resolution to farmers' crisis, says Pak taking advantage of dissatisfaction

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Chandigarh, Mar 24 (PTI) By delaying a resolution to the farmers' crisis, the BJP-led central government is allowing Pakistan to take advantage of the dissatisfaction emerging in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday.

He also termed the 'growing economic and military collusion' between Pakistan and China New Delhi's 'failure of diplomacy'.

Urging the Centre to repeal the three farm laws at least in the 'interest of the nation's security', the chief minister asked, 'Have you not thought of what Pakistan will do in this scenario.' Warning that the neighbouring country will take advantage of the dissatisfaction among the youth in Punjab as they have done in the past, Singh stressed on the need to 'learn from history'.

'Is Delhi sleeping,' he asked, citing an increase in arms smuggling into Punjab through drones since the farmers intensified their stir.

The chief minister, as per an official statement here, again urged the central government not to hold on to its 'ego or prestige' and to withdraw the farm laws immediately.

'This is not Hitler's Germany or Mao Zedong's China. The people's will has to be heard,' he stressed, adding that those at the helm should understand that the agitation of the farmers is not a political issue but a matter of their survival.

The agitation is not limited to Punjab, Singh added.

Pointing to his 52 years' experience in politics, the Punjab chief minister said he has seen build-up of terrorism and also the assassination of a chief minister of the state.

The situation is worse now because of the economic and military collusion between Pakistan and China, which is 'very ominous for India', he said.

'While the Indian Army is equipped to handle any situation, the question is why the Indian government is allowing the country's two big enemies to get together,' Singh asked.

'If there is a war, Pakistan and China will be in it together, and Punjab, which shares a 600-km-long border with Pakistan, will be at the battle front, he added.

The chief minister also claimed that Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's offer of peace should not be trusted, and termed it Islamabad's double-faced policy.

'Pakistan has been at our throats since 1947, how can they bury the past,' he remarked, adding that the Pakistani army and the ISI have vested interests in fanning tensions with India and will never let peace prevail.

The day the general made the peace offer, seven encounters happened at the borders, Singh added.

Stating that his government was never consulted on the farm laws, the chief minister said the legislations had been imposed on the state and the farmers without any discussion 'as they (Centre) were perhaps very clear that we would oppose'.

'After using Punjab when needed, the Centre is now discarding us,' he said, adding that the state government was not even included in the agricultural reforms committee originally, and after it was made a member, nothing on the farm laws was ever discussed.

Ruling out any threat from other major political parties in the next Assembly elections, the chief minister said he believed that his experience of governing the state and also in the Army will help him handle the challenges of the state beyond 2022. PTI SUN VSD IJT