We celebrate festivals because you guard borders: Modi tells soldiers in J&K

Since taking over as prime minister, Modi has made it a point to meet troops in a border region on Diwali, starting from a visit to Siachen in 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached the Nowshera sector of Jammu to celebrate Diwali with jawans.

India must enhance its military capabilities in line with the changing world and modes of war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing soldiers in Nowshera sector in the border district of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of Diwali.

Calling soldiers the ‘suraksha kawach’ (armour) of the country, Modi said it was because of them that the people of the country could sleep peacefully and celebrate festivals.

The prime minister noted that modern border infrastructure has been built to augment connectivity and troop deployment.

He also lauded the role played by the brigade in Jammu and Kashmir in surgical strikes. India had conducted the surgical strike on September 29, 2016, across the Line of Control (LoC) as a response to a terrorist attack on an Army base in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Modi said many attempts were made to spread terrorism in the region after the surgical strike but they were given a befitting reply. During the time, the prime minister said he himself had monitored the operation till the end and ensured that every single soldier returned home safely.

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He said that connectivity in border areas has improved — be it from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, Jaisalmer to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“Borders and coastal areas lacking normal connectivity now have roads and optical fibres, and this boosts deployment capabilities as well as facilities for soldiers,” the prime minister said.

Modi also said that earlier the country had to depend mostly on imports in the defence sector but with his government’s attempts, indigenous capabilities have gotten a boost. He hailed the courage of soldiers and said their capability and strength has ensured peace and security for the country.

“I want to spend Diwali with family members, so I join you on this festival,” he said.

Since taking over as prime minister, Modi has made it a point to meet troops in a border region on Diwali, starting from a visit to Siachen in 2014.

Official sources shared photographs of him at an Army post in Nowshera. Army chief General MM Naravane had carried out an aerial reconnaissance of forward areas, including Rajouri, on Wednesday and he was briefed about the prevailing security situation along the LoC in the Jammu region.

An Army operation against terrorists has been going on through the forest belt in the Poonch-Rajouri area. This has been the longest such operation in the recent past and it entered the 26th day on Thursday. Meanwhile, when Modi left his residence in the morning, there were minimal security arrangements in place and no traffic route was deployed to minimise any inconvenience, official sources said.

The Prime Minister returned to Delhi on Tuesday after a 5-day trip to Rome and UK where he attended the G-20 meeting and COP26 Climate Summit.

(With inputs from agencies)

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