The Prime Minister, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane, arrived at Nimu this morning
NEW DELHI| Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Leh, Ladakh to review the ongoing border conflict. This is the first high profile visit from the executive leadership to the region ever since the border standoff erupted in early May.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane, arrived at Nimu this morning and interacted with Army, Air Force and ITBP personnel.
PM Modi said, “Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today. When the safety of the country is in your hands, then there is a belief. Not only me, but the entire nation believes in you and is not worried. You inspire every citizen to work day and night. Our resolve for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) has become stronger because of you and your strong resolve. The valour shown by you has shown India’s strength on the global front.” PM Modi meets the soldiers who were injured in the clashes, as well as the local military leadership, including Lt. General Harinder Singh, XIV Corps Commander.
Modi also said, “India’s enemies have seen your fire and fury. Those who are weak can never initiate peace. Bravery is a pre-requisite for peace. Your will power is as strong and firm as the Himalayas, the whole country is proud of you.”
Nimu, a forward location, is at a height of 11,000 feet and among the tough terrains. It lies on the banks of the river Indus and is surrounded by the Zanskar range.
While paying tributes to the soldiers during his Mann ki Baat address last Sunday, Modi had said, “Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship… she is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary, without shying away. Our brave soldiers have proven that they will not let anyone cast an evil eye on the glory and honour of Mother India.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was initially scheduled to visit Ladakh today along with the Army Chief, but his visit was deferred on Thursday.
Friday marks Naravane’s third visit to Ladakh since the standoff began in May. He visited the XIV Corps headquarters in Leh on his first visit, while on his second, he met the injured soldiers and visited forward areas.
Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in a face-off at multiple locations in the region. The friction points include North bank of Pangong Tso, Hot Springs, Vohra Post and Galwan Valley. While at Pangong Tso, China has built substantial structure until Figure 4, which is 8 km west of India’s claim of LAC at Finger 8; they have also built some structures at Patrolling Point 14 in the Galwan Valley.
China has also crossed the border at Depsang Plains, which is close to India’s strategically-important Daulat Beg Oldie post near Karakoram Pass in the north.
The other major concern has been the heavy military build-up in the depth areas by China, which has been mirrored by India by moving in additional divisions and air defence assets.