As Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at a forward post in Ladakh to speak to troops, chants of "Bharat Mata ki jai" and "Vande Mataram" rang out. A video shows soldiers cheering as the Prime Minister walked amidst them, in a surprise visit to Ladakh days after the June 15 clash with China in which 20 soldiers were killed in action.
PM Modi, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and Army Chief General MM Naravane, arrived in Leh early today and was flown by chopper to Nimu, 11,000 feet up in the Himalayas and on the banks of the river Indus.
As the soldiers burst into patriotic slogans, the PM, wearing a mask as coronavirus precaution, acknowledged them with folded hands.
"Interacting with our brave armed forces personnel at Nimu," the PM posted, sharing a photo on his Instagram account.
Sitting in a camouflage tent, PM Modi addressed soldiers from the Army, Air Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police with the Zanskar mountains as a spectacular backdrop.
He was briefed by senior officers on the nine-week face-off with China at the Line of Actual Control or LAC, the de-facto border separating the two countries.
PM Modi also visited a hospital where soldiers wounded in the brawl with Chinese troops at Galwan river Valley are recovering.
Besides being a huge morale booster for the troops, the Prime Minister's visit is seen as a direct message to China, which has been aggressively confronting Indian soldiers in parts of Ladakh.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was to travel to Leh yesterday but his trip was cancelled.