India’s resolve in standing up to China had led to more countries realising the need to confront the expansionist power that had been taking on several nations. “Unwavering caution, vigilance and preparedness are the only ways to respond,” he said.
“This time China was surprised as India stood up resolutely… just how it will respond is not known,” Bhagwat said. “If we do this (increase our power and forge close ties with neighbour), we can stop China. Our neighbours like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal are not just our neighbours. We have had ties with them for thousands of years and more or less they are countries with the same nature and temperament as us. We should quickly associate with them… there will be disputes when borders are shared. We should move faster to remove this issues,” he said.
In fairly explicit references to the border situation with China, the RSS chief said India’s hand of friendship to all should not be mistaken for weakness. “The erroneous impression of those who felt that (India) can be bent this way and that should have been cleared up by now. The bravery of our Army and the self-esteem reflected in the policies of our leadership and the unity of our people should be recognised by China. There is an air of self-confidence in the nation,” he said.
“A haughty China locked horns with a number of countries at a single point of time. Of course, it has been an expansionist regime and has been encroaching upon other’s territories, be it Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and even America. However, India’s reaction to its aggression has left it rattled. Rather, China was taken aback by India’s response,” he added.
Bhagwat said there was a need to be vigilant against internal challenges as well. Political competition was a fact of democracy but there should be some wisdom in this and elections were not a war between enemies, he said, warning against bitterness within society. “This is not politics, there are forces that want to see a society at conflict with itself, these are in the world and in the country,” he added.
He said the anti-CAA agitation was used to create conflict by propagating the view that it was intended to reduce Muslim population. “These people speak of Bharat ke tukde but use certain situations to present themselves as secular and constitutionalists. They actually have no regard for the Constitution at all. They teach society the wrong things (ulti patti) and they speak the grammar of anarchy as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar said. They have worked against the Sangh, only that they are not effective today,” he added.
In a departure from tradition, the event was held at a hall inside the RSS’s Smruti Mandir premises and not on the grounds adjacent to it. A limited number of around 50 swayamsewaks, sporting saffron masks, attended.
“The diversity among people of country is being used to fuel separatism. We need to be careful of such elements who are carrying out their activities in the name of saving the Constitution but they only intend to divide the country for their gains,” he said.
On protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Bhagwat said a misconception was spread that it was an attempt to reduce population of Muslims in the country. “It was only meant to facilitate immigration of minorities facing religious persecution in some of the neighbouring countries. Such people had nowhere else to seek refuge but in India. The existing law on getting Indian citizenship remains and the amendment only gives certain facilitations to such people,” he said.