Modi celebrates Diwali with Armed Forces in Kargil, interacts with soldiers
New Delhi, October 24, 2022
Keeping in with his tradition of spending Diwali with the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated the festival with soldiers in Kargil on Monday.
Addressing the jawans, the Prime Minister said that the reverence for the soil of Kargil always draws him towards the brave sons and daughters of the armed forces. “For years, you have been a part of my family,” he said.
“On the one side there are the sovereign borders of the nation and on the other committed soldiers, on one we have the love of the soil of the motherland, and on the other, there are braveheart jawans. I could not have expected a Diwali of such magnitude anywhere else,” he said.
He said India gleefully celebrates these sagas of valour and bravery that are part of the country's tradition and culture. “Today, from the victorious lands of Kargil, I wish a very happy Diwali to everyone in India and the world,” he added.
There was no war with Pakistan when Kargil did not hoist the Tricolour after the armed forces emerged victorious. He expressed the hope that the festival of lights illuminated the path of peace and prosperity in the current geopolitical landscape.
Explaining the significance of Diwali, he said, “It is the festival of the end of terror.”
Drawing an analogy to Diwali, the Prime Minister remarked that Kargil had done exactly the same and the celebrations of the victory are remembered even today.
He said he was a witness to the Kargil war and had watched it closely. He expressed gratitude toward the authorities for preserving and showing him 23-year-old photographs as he spent time with the jawans when they were giving a befitting reply to the enemies during the war. “As an ordinary citizen, my Kartavya Path had led me to the battlefield,” he added.
At that time, he said he had come to drop off the supplies put together by the countrymen and said that it was a moment of worship for him.
“It was the call of every individual to commit mind, body and soul to the cause and the cheers of victory filled the air around us,” he added.
“The India that we revere is not just a geographical territory but a living spirit, a constant consciousness, an immortal existence,” he said. India has defences from the sky-high Himalayas to the seas and oceans. When many flourishing civilisations in the past were decimated to grains of sand, India’s cultural stream remained uninterrupted. A nation becomes immortal when the brave sons and daughters of the land show complete faith in their strength and resources, he said.
Modi said the battlefield of Kargil is shining proof of the courage of the Indian Army.
“Dras, Batalik and Tiger Hill are proof that enemies sitting on a mountaintop were dwarfed before the courage and valour of the Indian Armed Forces. Those manning India’s borders are the resilient pillars of India’s security. A country is secure only when its borders are secure, its economy is robust and the society is filled with self-confidence," he said.
“The morale of the nation goes up when we hear news about the strength of the country. Solidarity among the countrymen can be seen in the Swacch Bharat Mission and the timely delivery of pucca houses with electricity and water. Every jawan feels proud of it. When these services reach the jawans’ houses, it gives them satisfaction. When the jawan notices the boost in connectivity, it gets easier for him to call home and even easier to get home during vacations,” he added.
He also highlighted India’s recent achievement of becoming the 5th largest economy in the world from the 10th largest 7-8 years ago. The Prime Minister also spoke about the 80,000-plus start-ups that keep the innovation mill running. Two days ago, ISRO created a new record by simultaneously launching 36 satellites to expand broadband internet. During the Ukraine war, the Tricolour acted as a protective shield for Indians.
“You are standing as a shield on the border while strict action is being taken against the enemies within the country,” he said. The country has made a successful attempt to uproot terrorism, Naxalism and extremism. Speaking on Naxalism that had once engulfed a large part of the country, the Prime Minister said that its scope was continuously shrinking.
Speaking on corruption, the Prime Minister remarked that India was fighting a decisive war. “No matter how powerful the corrupt may be, they cannot escape the law. Earlier, misgovernance had limited the country's potential by creating obstacles in the way of development. ”
"With the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’, we are removing all those shortcomings,” he added.
Throwing light on the advancement in technologies in modern warfare, he said, “The nature of future wars is going to change and in this new era, we are preparing the military strength of the country according to the new challenges, new methods and changing requirements of national defence.
Speaking on the need for major reforms in the army whose requirements were felt for decades, the Prime Minister assured that all possible steps are being taken so that there is better coordination of defence forces to take swift action against every challenge. “For this, an institution like CDS has been created. A network of modern infrastructure is being created on the border so that our jawans are more comfortable in performing their duty,” he said. Several Sainik Schools were being opened across the country.
Highlighting Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Modi said the most important aspect of the country's security is the possession of modern indigenous weapons. All three wings of defence forces have decided to minimise dependence on foreign weapons and systems and pledged to be self-reliant. “I admire our three armies, who have decided that more than 400 pieces of defence equipment will no longer be bought from abroad and will now be made in India itself.”
Pointing out the benefits of using indigenous weapons, he said when the jawans fight with the weapons made in the country, their faith will be at its peak and their attacks will come with a surprise element for the enemy while crushing the enemy's morale. The Prime Minister gave the examples of Prachand - Light Combat Helicopters, Tejas Fighter Jets, and the colossal aircraft carrier Vikrant. He also highlighted India’s missile strength in Arihant, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul, Pinak and Arjun. Today, India has become an exporter of defence equipment while strengthening its missile defence system and was also working rapidly on modern and effective technology like drones.
“We follow the tradition where war is considered as the last option. India is always in favour of world peace. We are against war, but peace is not possible without strength. Our armies have the capability and the strategy and if someone looks at us, then our armies also know how to give a befitting reply to the enemy in their own language.
Speaking of steps taken to abolish the slavery mentality, the Prime Minister gave the example of the newly inaugurated Kartavya Path and said that it is promoting the new faith of New India. “Be it the National War Memorial or the National Police Memorial, these make for a new identity for new India,” he said. Referring to the new Indian Navy Ensign, he said, “now the inspiration of Shivaji's bravery has been added to the naval flag.”
“The eyes of the world today are on India and its growth potential. Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal is going to be a real witness to this power of India," he added, concluding his address by reciting a poem praising the soldiers.