- PM Modi addressed troops during a surprise visit to Ladakh
- PM's visit served as a powerful statement against Chinese aggression
- "The weak can never accomplish peace, the brave do," PM Modi said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a surprise visit to a forward post in Ladakh on Friday days after a deadly border clash with China, told troops that the nation's enemies had seen their "fire and fury". Describing the soldiers as "the braves of the soil", the Prime Minister said the "weak can never accomplish peace, the brave do".
Without naming China, the Prime Minister said: "The age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back."
Those who laid down their lives for the country belonged to all parts of India and epitomised its ethos of bravery, he said, rallying the troops.
"Every single Indian across the world, especially in India, has the belief that you all can deliver and keep the nation strong and safe. Your courage is higher than the heights where you are stationed. Your arms are as strong as the mountains that surround you. Your confidence, determination and belief are as atal (immovable) as the peaks here."
The PM's visit was seen as a morale-booster for the army and a powerful statement against Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since early May, which escalated to a deadly brawl on June 15 in which 20 soldiers were killed and over 70 injured. Army sources said 45 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured.
Chants of "Bharat Mata ki jai" and "Vande Mataram" broke out when he arrived at Nimu, said to be around 100 km from the site of the clash in the Galwan river valley. A video showed soldiers cheering as the Prime Minister walked amidst them, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and Army Chief General MM Naravane.
He was flown by chopper to Nimu, 11,000 feet up in the Himalayas and on the banks of the river Indus.
PM Modi first interacted with soldiers from the Army, Air Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Later, he addressed the troops.
"Our enemies have seen your Fire and your Fury," he said, addressing the XIV Corps of the Army in Leh that is called the Fire and Fury Corps.
PM Modi also underscored that India would not stop building roads and bridges in the border area, which is believed to have been the cause of China's aggression.
Before ending his visit, the PM also visited a hospital where several soldiers wounded in the clash are recovering.