Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 12 (ANI): Amid the ongoing dispute with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said that China is a "bigger threat to India" than Pakistan.
In an interview with Shiv Sena mouthpiece "Saamana", the former defence minister said that China's military might is "ten times greater" than India and asserted that the government should try to put international pressure on China through negotiations and diplomatic channels.
"When we think about who is our friend and who is our enemy then in the mind of Indians, Pakistan comes first as an enemy. But I have been of the opinion for many years that we need not worry about Pakistan. It is true that Pakistan takes steps against our interests. In the long term, it is China that has the power, vision and programme to act against India's interests. China is a bigger threat to India," Pawar said.
"There is a difference between the military power of Pakistan and China. Today, if we compare our military power with China, then their's military might is "ten times greater" than India," he said.
Emphasising on why there should be no politics over the issue, he said: "I say do not bring politics into it because this is a serious problem. We can attack them but the entire country will have to pay a heavy price when there is retaliation to the attack.""Instead of attacking them, we should try to put international pressure on China through negotiations and diplomatic channels. If there is some solution out of it, then it would be wise to do it first," he said.
Pawar said that China has also "weaned away" India's neighbours to its side.
"When Narendra Modi became prime minister for the first time, he went to Nepal to offer prayers at the Pashupatinath temple. Now Nepal is not with us, but on the Chinese side," the former Union minister said.
"Look at Bangladesh, India has suffered so much for its creation. Now the neighbouring country has signed a treaty with China. It means Bangladesh is also with China. China has weaned away all our neighbours -- Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to its side. This is the contribution of the recent period," he said. (ANI)