Ladakh/ New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unannounced visit to a forward post in Ladakh this morning and interacted with troops days after the June 15 border clash with China in which 20 soldiers were killed in the line of duty. The Prime Minister’s visit was described as a major morale booster for the forces and a powerful message against Chinese aggression.
Images showed PM Modi sitting in a camouflage tent as he spoke to the troops seated at a distance from each other against the backdrop of the Himalayas. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief MM Naravane were present.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, he was at a forward location in Nimu. He reached there early in the morning by chopper from Leh and will return later today. “Interacting with our brave armed forces personnel at Nimu,” the PM posted, sharing a photo on his Instagram account.
Located at 11,000 feet, the region is among the world’s toughest terrains, surrounded by the Zanskar range and located on the banks of the river Indus.
Personnel of the Army, Air Force and ITBP were present for the interaction. PM Modi will also visit a hospital where several soldiers wounded in the clash are recovering.
After weeks of simmering tension at the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border with China, 20 soldiers including a Colonel were killed in action in the June 15 brawl with Chinese troops at the Galwan river valley. Army sources say the Chinese suffered 45 casualties.
India gave a fitting response to China on Ladakh, PM Modi had said last week in his monthly radio address – Mann ki Baat.
“Those who cast an evil eye on Indian territory in Ladakh have been given a befitting response. If India knows how to maintain friendship, it can also confront someone and give an adequate response. Our brave soldiers made it clear that they will not allow anyone to taint the honour of Mother India,” PM Modi said on Sunday.
The Prime Minister’s visit is also seen to deliver a strong message to the opposition Congress and other critics that have been targeting the government on its handling of the China crisis. In almost daily tweets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been demanding to know from the PM about Chinese incursions at the LAC.