New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday while addressing the soldiers at Nimmoo in Leh said that age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. He further said that history is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back while paying tributes to the 20 Army men killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in east Ladakh.
Addressing Army, Air Force and ITBP personnel during his surprise visit to Ladakh, the Prime Minister said, "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."
The Prime Minister stated that the bravery that soldiers and their compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India`s strength, adding "Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today. 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."
PM Modi was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane. He reached Nimmoo, early morning today at 8.15 am and interacted with Army, Air Force and ITBP personnel.
He later reached Leh's Technical Airport at 11 am and left the place at 1:30 pm, and then reached Hall of Fame at 1:10 pm.
The Prime Minister left for General Hospital in Leh at 1:20 pm and reached Leh Airport at 1:45 pm. He finally left for Delhi at 1:58 pm.
Significance of PM Modi's visit to Ladakh
PM Modi’s Ladakh visit assumes significance as the government first rescheduled Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Leh and then PM Modi's surprise visit took place.
PM Modi's visit comes after the violent clash between Indian Army personnel and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and over 70 others injured. The visit is seen as a message of support to the Indian armed forces.
PM Modi’s visit to the border area is high on symbolism and a morale booster for the troops that are deployed in Ladakh’s Galwan valley and around Pangong lake.
During his Mann Ki Baat address on June 28, PM Modi told the nation that "those who eyed Indian territory in Ladakh have received a befitting response". He had said if India knew how to maintain the friendship, it could also confront someone and give a befitting reply. "Our brave soldiers made it clear that they will not allow anyone to taint the honour of Mother India," he added.
PM Modi's earlier visits
Oct 2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Siachen to celebrate Diwali with soldiers posted at the world’s highest battlefield and hailed the role of the armed forces in securing the country.
July 2014: The Prime Minister visited the Badami Bagh Army Cantonment in Srinagar and addressed the Army Jawans and officers. Praising the valour and courage of the soldiers, PM Modi had asserted that self-reliance in defence offset manufacturing was essential for the security (aatma-raksha) of the nation.
Strength of Indian Army
Nov 2015: PM Modi celebrated Diwali with troops. He also visited three military installations associated with the 1965 Indo—Pak war —— the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa, Asal Uttar Memorial near Valtoha and Barki War Memorial in Ferozepur district in Punjab, and interacted with the troops.
October 2016: The Prime Minister met jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Indian Army and Dogra Scouts at Sumdo in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. He offered sweets to the personnel during his unscheduled visit and wished them happy Diwali.
Oct 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent his fourth Diwali with soldiers - this time at Gurez in Jammu and Kashmir, where troops of the 15 Corps are stationed.
November 2018: PM Modi celebrated Diwali with Army, ITBP personnel in Uttarakhand's Harsil near India-China border.
October 2019: The Prime Minister celebrated Diwali with the troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir's border district of Rajouri and praised them for their valour. Accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, PM Modi flew to the Army Brigade headquarters in Rajouri town just a few hours after the Pakistani army targeted forward posts in the district.