“If someone tries to test us at the border, then the answer will be befitting,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today as he paid tribute to soldiers and their sacrifices. PM Modi is spending Diwali with soldiers at the strategic Longewala post in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer.
Spending Diwali with soldiers is a tradition PM Modi has followed every year since he came to power in 2014.
The Prime Minister’s remarks in Jaisalmer comes a day after eleven people including five soldiers were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in several areas in north Jammu and Kashmir.
“India has long borders with several nations, but if there is one border post whose name is known by every Indian, it is Longewala. The Battle of Longewala is one that every Indian knows about and the saying ‘Jo bole so nihaal, sat sri akaal‘ comes to mind every time we think about it,” PM Modi said, addressing the soldiers.
Next year marks 50 years since the Battle of Longewala during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
“Some people may wonder why Modi-ji goes to meet soldiers year after year on Diwali. But tell me one thing, Diwali is a festival we celebrate with family, and with those we call our own… so each year, I spend time with you all, because you all are my own, my family,” PM Modi said, thanking the soldiers on behalf of the rest of the country. “I bring sweets for you all today. But these are not just from me. It is from all 130 crore Indians.”
“The more time I spend with you, the stronger is my resolve to serve and protect the country,” he said.
On Diwali eve, PM Modi had urged citizens to light diyas (oil lamps) for those who protected the borders.
Last year, PM Modi visited Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district to celebrate Diwali with soldiers guarding the Line of Control (LoC).
The year before, he was at the in Uttarakhand. In 2017, he spent the festival of lights with soldiers posted at Gurez sector of north Kashmir.
PM Modi spent his first Diwali in office with soldiers at Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield. He reportedly spent Diwalis in a similar manner when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Today’s visit to Jaisalmer is the second time this year that PM Modi interacted with soldiers. In July, he made a surprise visit to a forward post in Ladakh at the height of a border confrontation with China following a clash on June 14 when 20 soldiers died for the country at Galwan Valley.
Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Army Chief MM Narvane and Border Security Force (BSF) Director General Rakesh Asthana accompanied the Prime Minister to Jaisalmer.