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PM Modi Celebrates Diwali with Troops in J&K's Rajouri, Says Tough Decisions Possible Due to Their Valour

Highlighting the courage and fortitude of the forces in safeguarding national security, Modi thanked them on behalf of the people of the country for their monumental service.

Agencies

Updated:October 27, 2019, 6:31 PM IST
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PM Modi Celebrates Diwali with Troops in J&K's Rajouri, Says Tough Decisions Possible Due to Their Valour
PM Narendra Modi celebrates Diwali with Army jawans in Rajouri on Sunday. (PTI)

Jammu Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday celebrated Diwali with the troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir's border district of Rajouri and praised them for their valour, saying it enables the government to take decisions hitherto considered impossible.

Accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Modi flew to the Army Brigade Headquarters in Rajouri just a few hours after the Pakistani Army targeted the forward posts in the district. The shelling from across the border was retaliated by the Indian army.

Wearing a combat jacket, Modi exchanged wishes and sweets during his nearly two-hour-long interaction with the troops deployed along the Line of Control, officials said.

Addressing the 1,000-strong soldiers, Modi said, "The valour of the Indian defence forces made it possible for the central government to take decisions which were hitherto considered impossible."

The prime minister was was apparently referring to India's preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed besides abrogation of Article 370 provisions. He said everyone wants to celebrate Diwali with their family and so he too travelled to be with his family, which is the "brave jawans of the armed forces".

"We usually celebrate Diwali with our family. So I also decided to celebrate Diwali with my family and here I am, with my family," Modi said.

"Whether there is a festival or not, you (forces) always think first of your duty. Although today Diwali is celebrated, today also marks a very significant day for us, especially for our forces... there were people who backstabbed us to capture Kashmir, but our territorial forces destroyed the enemy and managed to keep Kashmir with us," he said, indirectly referring to Pakistan. "They were successful in capturing a certain part of Kashmir which continues to be with them, but that land is still with us in our hearts."

Modi said he has always maintained that the security forces should be as modern as possible. He also listed the steps being taken by the BJP-led government to further strengthen and modernise the defence forces, adding that the Government is committed to taking steps to ensure the welfare of soldiers.

"We have not let our forces fall short of any requirements," he said. "In the last five years, you have been at the forefront of every action we have taken, whether it be the surgical strikes, the airstrikes or even the destruction of terror infrastructure."

Modi visited the 'Hall of Fame' in Rajouri and paid homage to the soldiers and brave citizens who laid down their lives to protect Rajouri and Poonch sectors. He termed the Hall of Fame as 'Parakram Bhoomi, Prerna Bhoomi, Paavan Bhoomi'.

Highlighting the courage and fortitude of the forces in safeguarding national security, Modi thanked them on behalf of the people of the country for their monumental service.

To pay homage to and mark their contributions, the government endeavoured to etch the landmark National War Memorial in Delhi, he said, adding the increasing number of visitors to the memorial shows the respect accorded by the citizens towards the contributions of armed forces.

Later in a series of tweets, Modi said, "Celebrated #Diwali with the brave soldiers of the Indian Army in Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir. It is always a matter of great joy to be able to interact with these courageous personnel."

He also spoke about the steps the NDA government is taking for the welfare of soldiers.

"While interacting with our soldiers, I thanked them on behalf of the people of India for their monumental service. Their vigilance and valour keeps our nation safe!"

In another tweet about his visit to the 'Hall of Fame', he said, "Anecdotes about the courage of our soldiers are widely shared but do you also know about the stupendous efforts of our armed forces during natural disasters? Their swift action saves many lives and prevents public property from being destroyed."

On his way back from Rajouri, Modi interacted with air warriors and personnel of the army at the Pathankot Air Force Station.

Modi also posted a short video, with a heading "#Diwali is sweeter when celebrated with our brave soldiers", in which he is seen offering sweets to the soldiers under a camouflaged tent. The soldiers then raised 'Bharat Mata ki jai' slogans.

The visit to Rajouri coincided with Infantry Day celebrations, which is observed to mark the landing of the first Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 to push back Pakistan supported intruders. This is the third time that Modi celebrated Diwali with troops in Jammu and Kashmir since 2014, and the first after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

The army personnel were ecstatic and said they feel proud about the prime minister's "surprise" visit.

"We never thought of the prime minister visiting us and making our Diwali a memorable one... It was a big surprise and we are feeling proud after meeting him," one of the soldiers said while leaving the venue after the departure of Modi.

Since becoming prime minister in 2014, Modi has interacted with troops serving in tough areas on Diwali. That year, he visited Siachen in Ladakh region and in 2015, he went to the Punjab border.

The next year, Modi was in Himachal Pradesh, where he spent time with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel at an outpost. He visited Gurez sector of north Kashmir in 2017 and last year, he was with Army and ITBP personnel in the icy terrain near the India-China border in Uttarakhand.

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