'Proud of soldiers' role in surgical strikes'; Modi in J&K
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday celebrated the festival of Diwali with soldiers in Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri. Addressing Army personnel, Modi said he was proud of the surgical strikes conducted across the border in 2016 in response to the Uri terror attack. India can celebrate festivals in peace because of soldiers, the PM said.
- At the event, Modi called for enhancing India's military capabilities.
- Every year since taking over as PM, Modi celebrates Diwali with Army personnel in the border areas.
- Nowshera is close to the Line of Control (LoC), India's 740-km-long border with Pakistan.
- Notably, the region had recently witnessed encounters between terrorists and Army personnel.
- Two soldiers were killed in a mine blast in Nowshera Saturday.
Addressing the soldiers, Modi said he was bringing to them the blessings of crores of Indians. "It is because of you there is happiness during festivals," he told the soldiers, describing them as a "suraksha kawach" (armor). Modi said he felt the soldiers' "energy and determination" upon landing in Nowshera, adding that this is symbolic of their strength.
Modi praised the September 2016 surgical strikes, which eliminated terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The strikes were in retaliation to the Uri terror attacks the same month, which led to the martyrdom of 19 soldiers. Modi said India is proud of the strikes. There have been several attempts to disrupt peace after the strike, but India stood strong, Modi added.
Self-reliance is the only way to improve India's military capabilities, Modi said, adding that procuring defense equipment used to be harder under previous regimes. Modi praised the grant of Permission Commission to women in the Army. The move came after a nudge from the Supreme Court. He further said that connectivity has been enhanced in border areas.
Modi celebrates Diwali with soldiers of the Indian Army every year. When he took office in 2014, the PM celebrated the festival with soldiers in Siachen, the world's highest battleground. In 2019, too, Modi had celebrated Diwali at an Army division in Rajouri.