New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Himachal Pradesh’s Lepcha yesterday to celebrate Deepavali with security personnel, said for him, a place where Armymen are is no less than a temple.
The Prime Minister has made it a point to celebrate the festival with Soldiers every year. In 2014, the PM celebrated the festival of lights with Soldiers at the Siachen Glacier. In 2015, on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan, Modi visited three Memorials in Punjab where the Indian Armed Forces had fought pitched battles that proved to be key to the country’s victory.
In 2016, Modi travelled to Himachal Pradesh to meet the personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Dogra Scouts and the Army at Sumdoh near the China border.
Modi, in 2017, was in the Gurez sector in north Kashmir, while in 2018, he celebrated Diwali in Harsil, Uttarakhand, which was followed by a visit to Kedarnath.
After being re-elected to the high office in 2019, Modi celebrated Deepavali in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2020, he was at a border post of Longewala on Deepavali and in 2021, he celebrated the festival with Soldiers in Nowshera. The PM celebrated the festival with the Armed Forces in Kargil last year.
Addressing the Soldiers at Lepcha yesterday, Modi said the circumstances of the world are such that the expectations from India are constantly rising. “At such an important time, it is necessary that India’s borders are protected and there is an environment of peace in the country and you have a big role in this,” Modi, dressed in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) fatigues, said.
“India is protected till the time my bravehearts are standing on the borders like the Himalayas,” the Prime Minister said.
He added: “After Independence, these bravehearts (Army personnel) fought so many wars and won the country’s heart… Our Jawans have snatched victory in the face of challenges.”
“It is said that ‘parv’ is where the ‘parivaar’ is. On festivals, being away from the family and deployed on the borders exemplifies the commitment to duty… The country is indebted to you,” Modi told the soldiers.
“Therefore, on Diwali, one ‘diya’ is for your safety, and in every prayer, people wish for your safety,” the Prime Minister said. “Since 30-35 years, there has been no Diwali that I have not celebrated with you. When I was neither the PM nor the CM, I celebrated Diwali amongst you in border areas,” Modi said.
Recalling his Government’s approval to the permanent Commission for women, Modi said, “…In the past years, in the Indian Army, more than 500 women officers have been given a permanent Commission. Today, women Pilots are flying fighter planes like Rafale…”