Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 3
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid a surprise visit to Ladakh to assess the border situation. Addressing soldiers during the visit, he said: “The era of expansionism is over and that India’s enemies have seen the “fire and fury” of its armed forces.”
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.
“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,” he said.
He further 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.”
The PM concluded his visit with the message from the soldiers that they were ready to face any eventuality without batting an eyelid.
Modi, who reached Leh in the morning, had a major strategic session with the army commanders, where the 14 Corps Commander gave a detailed view of the situation since May, how the standoff started and also how it looks like as of today in terms of the estimated strength of the soldiers and their machinery on both the sides.
The PM was greeted with slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Matramm’ by the soldiers, who also raised their arms.
Modi was also briefed about the evolving situation since May at Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Hot Springs in the eastern Ladakh by Lt Gen Harinder Singh, who had led the Indian delegation in the three rounds of talks with his Chinese counterpart Major General Liu Lin.
According to the latest situation, the soldiers on the two sides are to disengage as part of the de-escalation, that is, both sides have to scale down the aggressive posturing, though the standoff position would remain till the two sides sort out all the issues.
The PM was accompanied by Chief of Defence Services Gen Bipin Rawat and Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane.
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks. The tension escalated after the 20 soldiers were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. With PTI inputs