NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said India’s armed forces have improved capabilities to achieve parity with China’s PLA and can give befitting response to any provocation.

“Today, in 2020, Indian armed forces engage with Chinese forces on equal footing and have developed strong capabilities to give a befitting reply to those who cast evil eye on the country,” Singh said while delivering the key-note address on “Self-Reliant India”, organised by Rajasthan BJP, to mark the birth anniversary of party’s ideologue late Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Singh’s remark came against the backdrop of the Army’s successful manoeuvre in taking control of strategic heights in the Pangong lake region of Ladakh and the warning to PLA commanders that Jawans will not flinch from resorting to firing in the event of Chinese aggression. The minister said that the focus on improving the military muscle was in keeping with the Jan Sangh founder’s 6-point vision for national rejuvenation.

“Deendayal ji had suggested that the country should be capable of self defence. Very few people know that as a thinker, he had several valuable suggestions on a strategic front other than economy,” the defence minister said. Singh said Upadhyaya had a firm belief that economic policy will be handicapped without the country’s dedicated strategic policy.

“No country can be self reliant without paying attention to strategic issues. Only a good, coordinated planning, combining strategic and economic policies can fulfil India’s pledge of becoming self-reliant,” he said.

He said the RSS ideologue had suggested that India should become self-reliant in the defence sector in 1962, the time when India had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of China.

Singh said soon after China conducted nuclear tests in 1964, Upadhyaya had suggested that India should also become a nuclear country.

“He was the only leader in India who talked about credible nuclear deterrence. When nuclear tests were conducted under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998, it was done only to demonstrate the country as a nuclear deterrent. That exercise played a vital role in making the armed forces confident,” Rajanth said.

Singh spoke about the farm bills saying steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a far-reaching impact on making farmers self-reliant and doubling their income.