Kinnaur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who dedicated this year's Diwali to the armed forces in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat, spent Diwali with a visit to border posts in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday, meeting the soldiers on duty.
- PM visits border post in Sumdo, Himachal Pradesh
- Says have fulfilled One Rank One Pension demand of forces
- Had dedicated Diwali to soldiers standing guard on borders
"They say you should celebrate Diwali with your people and that's why I have come here to celebrate Diwali with you all," he told soldiers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police or ITBP at the Sumdo forward post in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur, close to the border with China.
"We the people of India sleep peacefully because you guard our borders," he said.
The Prime Minister had celebrated his first Diwali since coming to power in 2014 with soldiers posted in Siachen, and in 2015, he celebrated it at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab.
Amidst increased hostilities with Pakistan that have resulted in deaths of seven soldiers in the last one month, the Prime Minister called on citizens to remember their service.
He also spoke about the One Rank One Pension or OROP scheme - a longtime demand of the forces that was approved by the government this year.
"After I became the PM, and decided that I had to do (implement) it... It was not possible for the government to pay in one go, so I requested the ex-servicemen to accept it in four instalments.
Nearly, Rs. 5,500 crore has been paid as the first instalment," PM Modi said.
He slammed the previous governments that "did not know" about OROP and keeping it hanging for 40 years and allocating as little as Rs 40 crores.