In Direct Message to China, PM At Ladakh: 10 Big Points

PM Modi in Leh: In photos, PM Modi sat in a camouflage tent as he spoke to the troops seated at a distance from each other against the backdrop of the Himalayas. According to the Prime Minister's office, he was at a forward location in Nimu.

PM Modi in Leh: According to the Prime Minister's office, he was at a forward location in Nimu.

Highlights

  • PM was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff and Army Chief
  • According to the PM's office, he was at a forward location in Nimu
  • 20 soldiers were killed in a violent standoff with China last month
Ladakh/ New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to a forward post in Ladakh this morning and interacted with troops days after the June 15 border clash with China in which 20 soldiers were killed in the line of duty. "The age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History knows that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back," he said, addressing soldiers during the visit that served as a morale booster for the forces and a powerful message to China, which has shown unrelenting aggression at the border with incursions seen in satellite images. "The weak can never accomplish peace, the brave do," he asserted.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

  1. In photos, PM Modi sat in a camouflage tent as he spoke to hundreds of soldiers seated at a distance from each other. Later, he delivered an address against the backdrop of the Zanskar mountains.

  2. According to the Prime Minister's office, he was at a forward location in Nimu, at a height of 11,000 feet. He reached there early in the morning by chopper from Leh, along with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief MM Naravane. "Interacting with our brave armed forces personnel at Nimu," the PM posted.

  3. The PM's visit "definitely strengthened the morale" of the soldiers, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was to travel to Leh yesterday but cancelled his trip.

  4. Personnel of the Army, Air Force and ITBP were present for the interaction. PM Modi also visited a hospital where several soldiers wounded in the clash are recovering.

  5. A rattled China reacted to the visit. "India and China are in communication and negotiations on lowering the temperatures through military and diplomatic channels. No party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at this point," Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

  6. After weeks of simmering tension at the Line of Actual Control or the de-facto border with China, 20 soldiers including a Colonel were killed in action in the June 15 brawl with Chinese troops at the Galwan river valley. Army sources say the Chinese suffered 45 casualties.

  7. Amid outrage on social media and calls for boycotting Chinese goods and businesses, the government this week banned 59 Chinese mobile phone apps including the wildly popular TikTok citing national security concerns.

  8. Chinese imports including raw materials vital to India's huge pharmaceutical industry have reportedly been piling up at Indian ports due to more stringent border checks.

  9. Ministers also said India will no longer buy Chinese equipment for power stations and that Chinese construction firms will be barred from new road projects.

  10. The Prime Minister's visit is also seen to deliver a strong message to the opposition Congress and other critics that have been targeting the government on its handling of the China crisis. In almost daily tweets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been demanding answers from the PM on Chinese incursions at the LAC.

With inputs from AFP