India won 1971 war because every caste, religion came together: Rahul Gandhi


India won the 1971 war in just 13 days because every single person, caste and religion in the country came together to defeat Pakistan, while today the country is being divided and weakened, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday.

Addressing a rally organised by his party to remember the martyrs and veterans of the 1971 war, during which the Congress’s campaign for next year’s assembly elections was launched, Rahul recalled the contributions of his grandmother – former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – and accused the BJP-led government of ignoring her role during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the war victory.

He said that his ties with Uttarakhand is of sacrifice, and those who have not given their blood for the country will never understand this.

“I remember my family’s relation with Uttarakhand. I remember October 31 when my grandmother was martyred for this country. I remember May 21 when my father [Rajiv Gandhi] was martyred for this country. You and me have the relation of sacrifice,” Rahul told the gathering at Parade Ground where giant cut-outs of CDS general Bipin Rawat and Indira Gandhi were erected for the rally.

“The sacrifice thousands of families in Uttarakhand have given, the same sacrifice has been given by my family. Those standing here who lost their blood can understand that sacrifice very well. Those in the Army, Air Force or Navy can understand this well. But the family or person who has not given that sacrifice can never under this.”

Talking about the 1971 war, he said such wars take a lot of time, but in just 13 days Pakistan bowed because India fought as one.

“America took 20 years to defeat Afghanistan. But India defeated Pakistan in just 13 days. We should understand what happened in 1971. India was united and stood as one. Some say the Army won the battle, some say it was because of the political leadership and some say it was because of the Navy and Air Force. But it was because every single person, every caste and religion came together and defeated Pakistan,” he said.

“Another reason for that victory was that Pakistan was divided… East and West Pakistan had a war with each other and Pakistan was weak. This is the most important lesson. When India stands as one, the US’s 7th Fleet returns. No power can stand in front of India when we speak as one. The sad thing is that today the country is being divided and weakened,” he said.

Accusing the government of ignoring Indira Gandhi’s role in the war, Rahul said a function in Delhi to mark the anniversary made no mention of her. “The woman who took 32 bullets for the country does not even have her name on the invitation card. This is because the government is scared of truth. This, however, does not bother me because I know she gave her blood for the country,” he said.

Alleging that the government is working for just two or three industrialists, he said that demonetisation and GST are the weapons of industrialists and Prime Minister Narendra Modi implements them.

“You will see, until the BJP government is removed from Delhi, youth in this country will not get jobs… Do not believe that India is strengthening. Do not keep wrong notions. Helicopter, airplanes and tanks do not make the country stronger. The country gains strength when the people are empowered,” he said.