Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Indian troops during his visit to the forward post at Nimu in Ladak…Read More
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sent a clear message to China — that India will not back off — by paying a surprise visit to troops at a forward location in Ladakh where he said the era of expansionism was over while adding that the bravery of jawans at Galwan has sent a powerful message about the country’s strength.
“The age of expansionism is over. This is the age of development. In the centuries gone by, it was expansionism which hurt humanity the most and sought to destroy it. Those who are driven by expansionism have always posed a danger to the world. History bears testimony that such forces have either been destroyed or been forced to turn back. It is due to this experience that the world is coming together against expansionist forces,” the PM said.
Modi did not take names but left no doubt as to whom he was referring to by praising the Indian Army for taking on China’s PLA in a bloody confrontation in Galwan Valley on June 15. “The valour you and your fellow soldiers recently showed has sent a powerful message across the world about India’s strength. I pay my tributes again to the courageous jawans who attained martyrdom in Galwan Valley. The entire country has shown gratitude to the brave,” he said.
The defiant martial note ran through the PM’s speech before jawans of the Army, ITBP, BSF, IAF as well as Border Roads Organisation at Nimu, some 35km from Leh. “The enemies of India have seen the fire and fury of its forces. We have been known to be a people who love not only the flute-playing Krishna but also the one who wields the Sudarshan Chakra,” he continued in the same vein, indicating that India’s quest for peace should not be seen as a sign of weakness.
While talking to the jawans who were injured in the bloody confrontation with the PLA, Modi stopped just short of saying that the Army had inflicted losses on the Chinese side. “Given the current international situation, the international community is discussing the feat of courage you pulled off, especially because of the sort of forces it was achieved against. They are curious to know about our young brave, their level of commitment. The training you go through is being analysed,” Modi said. “Your courage encourages me to declare that India, which has never bowed to anyone, will not succumb in future and will become self-reliant,” he added.
Modi began his speech in Nimu by chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. While concluding, he raised the chant of “Vande Mataram” with jawans and officers joining in.
The address at 11,000 feet was a bold stroke, intended to boost the morale of the forces and signal defiance to Beijing. It was also meant to counter the opposition’s charge that the government had acquiesced to China’s incursions across eastern Ladakh, with the PM ruling out any deal which might entail concessions in the region that he described as blessed by the river Sindhu. “The entire Ladakh region is the head of India. The symbol of the prestige and honour of 130 crore Indians, this land belongs to those who have always been willing to make sacrifices,” he said.
Modi quoted from Tamil and Hindi poems of Thiruvalluvar and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, respectively, as well as a Sanskrit shloka and a saying of Gautam Buddha to drive home his themes of sacrifice, valour and defiance. “Peace cannot be ensured by the weak… bravery is the pre-condition for peace,” he said.
The PM’s plan to visit the troops was kept under wraps. Official sources tweeted about it only after he had reached the base.