Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed an emphatic message to China during his surprise visit to a forward location in eastern Ladakh. Addressing Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawans at Nimu, Modi, without naming China, said “the age of expansionism is over. This is the age of development. In the centuries gone by, it was expansionism that 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 were forced to turn back. It is due to this experience that the world is today speaking out against expansionist forces.”
The Prime Minister praised the jawans for their indomitable courage while fighting Chinese troops with bare hands in Galwan Valley last month. Modi said, “The valour that you and your fellow jawans recently showed has sent a powerful message across the world about India’s strength. I pay my tributes to the brave jawans who attained martyrdom. The entire nation has expressed its gratitude to our brave martyrs.”
Modi said, “The enemies of India have seen the fire and fury of its jawans….Your bravery encourages me to say that India, which has never bowed before anyone, will never succumb in the future and will become self-reliant (atmanirbhar)”. The jawans chanted slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Vande Mataram’ after the Prime Minister’s speech.
Later, Modi placed wreaths at the memorial for martyrs and met injured army jawans in the hospital. Modi’s visit to address the jawans at a height of 11,000 feet has given a tremendous boost to the morale of our armed forces, presently deployed at the Line of Actual Control to counter a massive Chinese military buildup.
“The entire Ladakh region is the crown of India. It is a symbol of prestige and honour for 130 crore Indians. Our religious scriptures say, Veer Bhogya Vasundhara (this land belongs to the brave who are always willing to make sacrifices)”, Modi said, while sending a tough message to the Chinese. Late at night, the Chinese foreign ministry described the Prime Minister’s charge of China being “expansionist” as “groundless”.
Modi has done what no leader in the world has done so far. He visited the forward location of the Indian army at a time when tension and military build-up is at its zenith, with Indian Air Force jets and bombers making sorties in the sky and tanks, artillery guns and thousands of commandos and jawans deployed at the LAC. He met the jawans, saluted their sense of valour, and delivered a clear warning to China. This was indeed a big morale booster for our jawans.
Modi’s message to China and the world was clear: India has changed a lot and its army stands solidly as a rock to give a crushing blow to the enemies. He used religious symbols as allegory when he said, while India worships the flute-playing Lord Krishna, it also views Lord Krishna as one who wields the famous Sudarshan Chakra to slay enemies. This was intended to convey a tough message to China: India wants peace but is ready to give a befitting reply if attacked. “Valour is a pre-condition of peace, and for peace, might is necessary”, he added.
As an astute statesman, Modi chose the right time, place and context for delivering his message, both to the jawans and the enemy. His message was well poised and balanced. He chose his words very carefully. The Prime Minister spoke from the depth of his heart, and recited lines from Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, in praise of the brave martyrs. He also used the ‘mother’ allegory, saying, he always kept two mothers in mind when making important decisions on national security, one, Bharat Mata, and two, the mothers of all jawans fighting on the border.
This was not a visit by a political leader, nor by a Prime Minister. It was Narendra Modi, who personally wanted to convey the message of 130 crore Indians to army jawans to say that the entire nation stands united behind them. When Modi with folded hands bowed his head before the troops, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ chants by army jawans rented the air.
By visiting a forward location near the border with his Chief of Defence Staff and Army Chief, Modi wanted to convey a tough message to China: Behave properly and we shall live in peace, but if you try to transgress the limits, we will give a befitting response.
Modi’s visit to Ladakh has made every Indian raise his head with pride. The people of India know that the nation is in the safe hands of a strong and capable leader. China has now realized that the breathing of fire by its dragon will not cow down the Indian lion.
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