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New Delhi, June 17, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told China in no uncertain terms that the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers, who died in a violent faceoff with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh would not go in vain and that India would defend every inch of its territory and its pride with all its might, whatever the circumstances.
"I want to assure the people of the country that the sacrifices of our soldiers will not go in vain," he said in his remarks on the second day of a video conference with Chief Ministers of all States, convened primarily to discuss the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis.
His statement came a day after the Indian Army said yesterday that as many as 20 Indian soldiers, including officers, had died in a violent face-off with troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Monday night.
"For us, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India are above everything else, and nobody can stop us from defending them," he said.
"No one should have even an iota of doubt about this," Modi said.
He said India wished for peace but it would respond decisively to any act of provocation.
The Prime Minister began his remarks by referring to the supreme sacrifice made by the soldiers and expressed the nation's gratitude to them. He also conveyed condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives and assured them that the entire nation stood by them in their hour of grief.
He said India was traditionally a peace-loving country and its history has been peaceful throughout. At all times, India has stood for peace in the world and for the welfare of all of mankind.
"We have always worked together with our neighbours in a friendly and cooperative manner. We have always wished for their progress and welfare," he said.
Modi said that, even when there were differences with neighbours, India had always worked to ensure that these did not grow into disputes.
"We never provoke anyone, but we cannot compromise on the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty," he declared.
"Whenever the need arose, we have displayed our might in protecting our territorial integrity and sovereignty, we have shown our capabilities," he said.
"Sacrifice and valour are part of our national character. But equally, might and bravery are also a part of our character," he said.
He said India wished for peace but, if provoked, it would respond in a decisive manner.
He said the country should be proud of the fact that the soldiers who were killed in the Galwan valley had died fighting till the end.
All the participants in the meeting stood in silence for two minutues as a mark of respect to the fallen soldiers.