New Delhi, Dec 08: Defence minister Rajnath Singh said India has no extra-territorial ambitions but asked the armed forces to be alert against Pakistan "which pursues terrorism as a matter of state policy".
Addressing the Passing Out Parade of the Indian Military Academy here as the reviewing officer, Singh asked the cadets commissioned into the armed forces Saturday to take the message of service and peace to the world but be prepared to deal with a neighbour like Pakistan.
"Despite suffering defeat at the hands of India in several wars, Pakistan continues to pursue terrorism as a matter of state policy. Non-state actors in Pakistan are so strong that those in the political centre stage look no more than mere puppets in their hands," Singh said.
"History bears evidence to the fact that India does not have extra-territorial ambitions. It believes in friendly relations with its neighbours. But we have to be ready to deal with a neighbour like Pakistan," he said.
Underlining that the mastermind of 9/11 and the 26/11 perpetrators and their handlers were found in Pakistan, the defence minister said, "The victims of 26/11 will get justice only when the handlers of the terror siege are brought to book."
He asked the new IMA passouts to hone the skills learnt at the academy so that they are ready to grapple with the relatively new challenge of cyber terror.
He said territorial perceptions of India and China might be different from each other but China stands with the rest of the world in the fight against terrorism. He also praised the Indian security forces for displaying great willpower as well as restraint during the Doklam crisis with the Chinese.
Congratulating the cadets on being commissioned into the armed forces, he said, "Your training has not just given you strength but also a new meaning to your life."
The defence minister, who inspected a colourful drill presented by the passing-out cadets in the backdrop of the historic Chetwode Building, also announced the construction of two underpasses connecting the North, South and Central campuses of the IMA to decongest traffic in the area.
The two underpasses will also make travelling to the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Haryana from Dehradun extremely convenient. Singh said over Rs 30 crore has been sanctioned for the projects.
A total of 377 gentlemen cadets, including 71 cadets from ten friendly foreign countries, were commissioned into the armed forces of their respective countries.
Uttar Pradesh had the highest representation with 56 trained gentlemen cadets followed by Haryana with 39 and Bihar with 24.
The Sword of Honour, the most coveted recognition at the academy, and the Gold Medal was given by the defence minister to Academy Under Officer Vinay Vilas Garad, the Silver Medal to Senior Under Officer Peekendra Singh and the Bronze Medal to Battalion Under Officer Dhruv Mehla.