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Mani Shankar Aiyar Says 'Spend Less On Defence', Adds, 'Don't Fear An Attack All The Time'

Stirring a controversy, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday, batted for lesser spending on Defence, suggesting India must invest in education instead

IMAGE: ANI/PTI


Stirring a controversy, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday, batted for lesser spending on Defence, suggesting India must invest in education, health and nutrition instead. Addressing the India-Russian society programme in Delhi, Aiyar claimed that poverty can be removed from the world if countries invested less in military weapons. Aiyar has often been embroiled in controversy with his comments related to Pakistan.

Aiyar: "Spend less on Defence"

"Work in a focused manner to make us prosperous. But instead of that, we are spending crores to empower the army to destroy the world. The amount we are investing in defence equipment to annihilate the world, if we used that in education, health, and nutrition, we can remove the world from poverty. We should spend for maintaining peace," said Aiyar.

Talking about India being caught between China and Pakistan, he said, "Don't always be under the fear that someone will come and attack us. Like a rabbit which is confused which we to run when between headlights. That is what is happening today. We are caught between two headlights. We have become like rabbits in between China and Pakistan and joined forces with America".

Similar controversial remarks were made by his peer Navjot Singh Sidhu while he visited the  Kartarpur gurudwara in Pakistan, where he referred to Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Addressing reporters in Kartarpur, Sidhu batted for 'open borders' with Pakistan, similar to European Union (EU). Fuming at his bonhomie with the Pakistan PM, BJP I-T chief lamented that the Gandhi siblings - Rahul and Priyanka preferred Sidhu to ex-Punjab CM and Army veteran Capt Amarinder Singh.

"Our culture is similar. Throw open our temples for devotees. They can make the economy of Punjab stand. Both countries will develop and so will Punjab. The aim is to change lives". Downplaying infiltration concerns, Sidhu added, "It may happen, infiltration, but our jawans are alert. Passport holders can go anywhere for faith and they should. This is my humble request".

Indo-China relations going through 'bad patch': MEA

His comment comes days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated that India and China are going through a "particularly bad patch" in their ties because of Beijing. Referring to the repeated incursions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he said that China had taken a set of actions in violation of their agreements for which it does not have a "credible explanation". It is for the Chinese leadership to answer where they want to maintain the bilateral relationship, he added.

He said, "We are going through a particularly bad patch in our relationship because they have taken a set of actions in violation of agreements for which they still don't have a credible explanation. That indicates some rethink about where they want to take our relationship, but that's for them to answer". EAM Jaishankar was attending a panel discussion on "Greater Power Competition: The Emerging World Order" at the Bloomberg New Economic Forum in Singapore.

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