Continuing with his tradition of celebrating Diwali with jawans on the border for the seventh year in a row, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with security personnel at Longewala Post in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer on Saturday.
Modi said, “No force in the world could prevent India’s soldiers from protecting the country’s borders. India has shown its strength and political will to give a befitting reply to those challenging it.”
Modi extended Diwali greetings to the jawans. “I have brought the greetings of every Indian to you today. You may be on snow-capped mountains or in deserts, but my Diwali is complete only when I celebrate with you,” he said at a gathering of Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. “Be it the peaks of the Himalayas, the stretch of the desert, dense forests or the depths of seas — your valour has triumphed in every challenge,” he added.
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Without taking names, Modi spoke of how Indian forces have time and again responded to Chinese and Pakistani aggressions. “The world now understands that this nation won’t compromise its interests, not at any cost. The repute and stature of India is due to your strength and valour. India is clearly presenting its opinions on international fora today because you’ve secured the nation,” he said.
“India trusts the policy of understanding others, making them understand, but will reply strongly if it is tested,” the Prime Minister said.
On the country’s defence sector, Modi said, “India is working rapidly to increase its defence capabilities and make its defence sector atmanirbhar (self-reliant). We have decided to focus on the indigenous arms factory. This one decision of the defence sector propelled 130 crore Indians to work towards vocal for local doctrine.”
Modi made a special mention of expansionist policies of China (without taking names). “Today the whole world is troubled by expansionist forces. Expansionism is, in a way, a mental disorder and reflects 18th-century thinking. India is also becoming a strong voice against this thinking,” he said.
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The Prime Minister also urged troops to innovate, practice yoga and learn an Indian language they don’t already know from their colleagues.
A day before, on Friday, after 11 people, including five soldiers, were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in north Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister took to Twitter to greet people on the occasion of Diwali. “Best wishes to all countrymen on Diwali. Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali! May this festival further brightness and happiness. May everyone be prosperous and healthy,” PM Modi tweeted.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also took to Twitter to extend their wishes.
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O Panneerselvam were among the several others to wish people on Diwali.