India's enemies have seen your fire and fury: PM Modi to soldiers in Ladakh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ladakh
Nearly three weeks after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash between Chinese and Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in the region on Friday morning to review the situation. He was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and the Army chief, General M M Naravane.

Later, he interacted with personnel from the Army, Indian Air Force and the ITBP in Nimoo. Located at 11,000 feet, Nimoo is among the toughest terrains, on the banks of river Indus and surrounded by the Zanskar range.

The Prime Minister addressed Indian Army soldiers in Nimoo during his visit and paid his tribute to the 20 soldiers who were killed. “Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today. When the safety of the country is in your hands, there is a belief. Not only I but the entire nation believes in you, and we are not worried. You inspire every citizen to work day and night. Our resolve for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) has become stronger because of you and your strong resolve. The valour shown by you has shown India’s strength on the global front,” he said.

In the afternoon, Modi visited a military hospital in Leh where he interacted with soldiers, who were injured in the Galwan Valley clashes and are undergoing treatment.

"The bravery of 14 Corps will be talked about everywhere. Tales of your bravery and valour are echoing in every house in the country. Bharat Mata's enemies have seen your fire and fury," he added.

"Those who are weak can never initiate peace, bravery is a pre-requisite for peace. Whether World Wars or peace, whenever the need arises, the world has seen the victory of our braves and their efforts towards peace. We have worked for the betterment of humanity," he said.

The prime minister said the world has taken note of India's strength due to the "exemplary bravery" of the armed forces in the recent weeks, adding history is proof that "expansionists" have either lost or perished.

In apparent references to China, the PM said, "Age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back."

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"We are the same people who pray to the flute playing Lord Krishna but we are also the same people who idolise and follow the same Lord Krishna who carries the 'Sudarshana Chakra'," he added.

"The bravery that you and your compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India’s strength," said the Prime Minister to the troops.

During his visit, the prime minister also said that in the last few years, several steps have been taken for the wellbeing of India's armed forces and to further strengthen India's security preparedness.

This includes ensuring availability of modern weaponry, increased border infrastructure, border area development and expanding the roads network, he said,and added that expenditure on border infrastructure has been enhanced three times.

The prime minister also spoke at length about how the virtues of peace, friendship and courage have been a part of India's culture since time immemorial.

He recalled that India has always given a befitting reply to anyone who has tried to disturb the prevailing atmosphere of peace and progress.

He affirmed that India is committed to peace and friendship but this commitment to peace should not be seen as India's weakness.

Today India is becoming stronger, be it in naval might, air power, space power and the strength of our army, he said, adding modernisation of weapons and upgradation of infrastructure has enhanced the country's defence capabilities multifold.

He also said that the government is putting adequate focus on the requirements of armed forces.

Recalling the greatness of Ladakh's culture as well as the noble teachings of Kushok Bakula Rimpoche, the prime minister described Ladakh as a land of sacrifice and a land that has given several patriots.

Modi affirmed that the people of India are inspired by the teachings of Gautama Buddha, for whom courage was linked to conviction and compassion.

While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Modi's visit to Ladakh and his interaction with the Army personnel have served as morale booster for them, BJP president J P Nadda tweeted "Veer bhogya vasundhara. PM Narendra Modi's words give words to the emotion of 130 crore Indians and act as a great morale booster for our armed forces! True leadership in action!".

"The borders of the country have always been secure under the Indian Army," the defence minister said, and thanked Modi for the visit.

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