Amid tension on the border with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the valour of the armed forces and lauded their sacrifice while dedicating the festival of Diwali to them.
He hailed the people including celebrities for sending overwhelming messages to his “Sandesh2Soldiers” campaign.
In his monthly “Mann ki Baat” programme on All India Radio, Mr. Modi also urged all citizens and State governments to find ways of forging unity across the country and working to defeat separatist tendencies and mentalities.
In the wake of ongoing troubles in the Kashmir Valley, he said, “Unity in diversity is our strength. It is the responsibility of every citizen and all governments to forge unity and curb separatist tendencies to save the country.”
In an apparent reference to tension on the Indo-Pak border, Mr. Modi credited the soldiers for maintenance of peace and security in the country and called upon everyone to remember their gallantry while celebrating Diwali.
“In the wake of recent events, our soldiers have been sacrificing their everything for the safety and security of the country. Their dedication and labour has overwhelmed me completely. Let us dedicate this Diwali to our armed forces,” he said.
“I had invited everyone to participate in the Sandesh2Soldiers campaign and I have been humbled by the response. From students, villagers and traders to political leaders and sports persons, everyone has sent a Diwali message for our soldiers,” he added while referring to the jawans who are stationed in deserts and on the icy heights of the Himalayas and security personnel who are guarding our industries and airports.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday celebrated Diwali with soldiers in a remote and strategic area in Himachal Pradesh, adjoining the Chinese border.
Modi also made an unscheduled trip to a village, Chango, and said he was “deeply touched by the impromptu reception and their joy”.
Dressed in olive green, the Prime Minister interacted with men from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Dogra Scouts and the army at Sumdoh.Dogra Scouts and the army at Sumdoh.
Sumdoh, some 330 km from Shimla, is located on the border of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.
Mingling freely, Modi went up to the soldiers holding a plate of sweets. At least one soldier offered him a sweet in return, much to the joy of everyone.
He was accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the Army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag.