PM visits Ladakh, says era of expansionism is over

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to the valour of the soldiers during the visit to Nimu in Ladakh on Thursday.

Leh/New Delhi: In a clear message to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the era of expansionism is over and that India’s enemies have seen the “fire and fury” of its armed forces as he made an announced visit to Ladakh, signalling India’s firmness in dealing with the border   row with the neighbouring country.

In an address to troops, Modi paid glowing tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers killed in the Galwan valley clashes, and said tales of the bravery and valour of  the armed forces are echoing in every part of the country.

“Bharat Mata’s enemies have seen your fire and fury,” Modi said in an apparent reference to the military clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops, and asserted that bravery is a prerequisite for peace and that the weak can never accomplish it.

Modi’s visit to Ladakh is seen as a strong message against China’s aggressive posturing along the Line of Actual Control in the region.

“We are the same people who pray to the flute-playing Lord Krishna, but we are also those who idolise and pray to the same Lord Krishna who carries the ‘Sudarshana Chakra’,” he said amid chants of ‘Vande Mataram’.

The Prime Minister said the world has taken note of India’s strength due to the “exemplary bravery” of the armed forces in the recent weeks, adding history is proof that “expansionists” have either lost or perished.

“The era of expansionism has ended. This is the age of development. If someone becomes stubborn for expansionism, then it creates danger for world peace. History is witness that such forces have either been eliminated or forced to turn back. The entire world has made up its mind against expansionism,” he said.

He further said: “Your courage is higher than the heights where you are serving today. When the safety of the country is in your hands, then there is a belief. Not only me, but the entire nation believes in you. We all are proud of you.”

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Army chief Gen M M Naravane in the morning.

Later, he interacted with personnel from the Army, Indian Air Force and the ITBP in Nimu. Located at 11,000 feet, Nimu is among the toughest terrains, on the banks of river Indus and surrounded by the Zanskar range.