JULY 3, 2020
In an unannounced move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to Leh on Friday morning and interacted with Indian soldiers posted there. The move caught most by surprise as it came at a time when India and China are embroiled in a months-long standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. PM Modi’s visit came nearly a fortnight after 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel-rank officer, were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley. While China also suffered casualties in the faceoff, it is yet to release details.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Leh comes at a time when relations with China are severely strained and is being seen as one aimed at sending a strong message to China, as well an attempt to boost morale of the Indian forces posted in the tough terrain.
Earlier, Defence Minister Rajanth Singh was scheduled to visit Leh and interact with the troops, along with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane. However, in a last-minute change of plans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself decided to meet the troops.
Here are the top 10 highlights from PM Modi’s visit:
1) Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the soldiers who were injured in the June 15 violent face-off with China. Interacting with the soldiers in a military hospital in Leh, PM Modi said they gave a befitting reply to the Chinese. PM Modi told them their bravery will be a source of inspiration for times to come. “The bravehearts who left us, have not gone without a reason. Together, you all also gave a befitting reply (karara jawab bhi diya hai),” he said.
2) While paying tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers killed in the June 15 violent faceoff, PM Modi said their bravery has sent a strong message about India’s strength. The Prime Minister was addressing personnel from the Army, Air Force and ITBP.
3) In his address, PM Modi said India’s resolve to become ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) becomes stronger because of its soldiers and their strong resolve. He told the personnel that their will power is as strong and firm as the Himalayas and the whole country is proud of them.
4) Sending a message to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the era of expansionism is over now and that India’s enemies have seen the “fire and fury” of Indian soldiers. “The era of expansionism has come to an end. This is the era of development…History has proved that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” PM Modi said.
5) Addressing the Indian troops, PM Modi said, “Your courage is higher than the heights where you are serving today. When the safety of the country is in your hands, then there is a belief. Not only me, but the entire nation believes in you. We all are proud of you.”
6) Affirming that India is committed to peace and friendship, PM Modi said this commitment to peace should not be seen as India’s weakness. He said India has always given a befitting reply to anyone who has tried to disturb the prevailing atmosphere of peace and progress.
7) During the interaction, Prime Minister Modi recalled the greatness of the Ladakhi culture as well as the noble teachings of Kushok Bakula Rimpoche. He described Ladakh as a land of sacrifice and a land that has given several patriots. Prime Minister affirmed that the people of India are inspired by the teachings of Gautama Buddha, for whom courage was linked to conviction and compassion.
8) The Prime Minister also traveled to Nimu, a forward post, and interacted with troops there. Nimu is surrounded by the Zanskar range and is on the banks of river Indus.
9) Meanwhile, in an apparent response to the day’s event, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said it is “groundless to view China as expansionist”. “China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation. It is groundless to view China as ‘expansionist’, exaggerate and fabricate its disputes with neighbors,” a Chinese Embassy Spokesperson in New Delhi said in a tweet.
#China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation. It’s groundless to view China as “expansionist”, exaggerate & fabricate its disputes with neighbours.
— Ji Rong (@ChinaSpox_India) July 3, 2020
10) Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made a veiled attack at the Prime Minister and said either he or the Ladakhi people are telling a lie. In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, “Ladakhis say: China took our land. PM says: Nobody took our land. Obviously, someone is lying.”
Courtesy/Source: India Today