Twenty Indian soldiers who lost their lives in a violent face-off with the Chinese in Ladakh last month did not die in vain, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told injured troops at the army hospital in Leh on Friday, as he visited the Himalayan region to deliver a message to China.
"The bravehearts who left us, have not left us without a reason. Together, you all gave a fitting reply (karara jawab bhi diya hai)," he told the injured soldiers, adding their bravery will be a source of inspiration for times to come and 130 crore Indians are proud of them.
"A message has gone to the world about the valour shown by you braves. The way you stood up to the powers, the world wishes to know who are these braves? What is their training? What is their sacrifice? The world is analysing your bravery," PM Modi said.
"Our country has never bowed down and will never bow down to any world power, and I am able to say this because of braves like you," he added.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi visited Nimu in Leh to meet personnel of the Army, Air Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), following the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the Prime Minister reached Leh around 9.30 am. Under pressure to respond to Chinese aggression, PM Modi had said after the clash last month that the Chinese were not occupying any Indian territory or posts.
"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," the Prime Minister said on Friday, without mentioning China. Addressing troops, he said: "The weak can never accomplish peace, the brave do."