Bengaluru, Jan 14 : Indian would give a befitting response if its pride is hurt by any super power, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted at a military function here on Thursday.
"If any super power hurts our national pride, our soldiers are capable of giving a fitting response though we do not want a war," Singh said at the fifth Armed Forces Veterans' Day here, without naming any country amid the border standoff with China since June 2020.
Noting that India stood for peace and friendly relations with all the countries, especially in the region, Singh said the nation is against armed conflict and wants to maintain peace, which is its hoary culture.
"India is for protecting one's security but not in favour of war though our troops are capable of defending the country's borders," reiterated Singh.
Lauding the soldiers for eliminating hundreds of terrorists intruding from across the western border, Singh said they have also displayed bravery in protecting the country in the northern border facing China.
Earlier, Singh and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat placed wreaths and paid homage at the War Memorial at the Indian Air Force (IAF) training command in the city. IAF and Indian Navy officers also laid wreaths as a mark of respect to the war heroes.
"Singh and Rawat interacted with the military veterans and martyrs' kin and members of ex-servicemen organisations," a defence official said in a statement.
Indian armed forces celebrate Veterans Day on January 14 every year in recognition of the services rendered by the country's first Field Marshal, K.M. Cariappa, who retired on the same day in 1953.
Cariappa (1899-1993), who hailed from Karnataka's Coorg (Kodagu), led the Indian forces on the western front during the first India-Pakistan war in 1947 as the army's first Commander-in-Chief. He also fought in World War II.
The only other Field Marshal, Sam Manekshaw (1914-2008), also retired on January 14, 1973.
Entry for the event was restricted due to Covid-induced curbs to contain the pandemic spread.