NEW DELHI: In a stern message to China amid tension on the borders in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil had received a befitting reply and that while India sought peace, it could look the adversary in the eye and respond adequately to protect its sovereignty.
Speaking on the brutal clash in Galwan Valley which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops, Modi said, “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 they will not let anyone cast an evil eye on the glory and honour of Mother India.”
‘Self-reliant India will be tribute to martyrs’
The PM paid tributes to the soldiers who died and said the country was one with the families who lost their loved ones. He pointed to the pride of families that the soldiers had died in the service of the nation and said, “Their sentiment for the country constitutes the true power, the might of the country. You may have seen parents of martyrs referring to sending other sons, other young family members too, to join the Army,” he added.
Modi said a resolve to make India self-reliant would be a fitting tribute to the fallen martyrs. “Rajniji has written to me from Assam. She says after watching what happened in eastern Ladakh, she has taken a vow… and the vow is that she will buy only ‘local’. And for the sake of ‘local’, she will also be vocal,” he said, adding that he had received several such messages from every corner of the country. “Similarly, Mohan Ramamurthy from Madurai writes that he wishes India to be self-reliant in the defence sector,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi sought to convey a reassuring message for the year that has seen India and the world face the Covid-19 challenge, saying though the country faced a convergence of challenges, it would overcome and become stronger. “Irrespective of the magnitude of the calamity confronting us, India’s sanskar… way of life, inspires one and all to serve selflessly. The way India extended a helping hand to the world during difficult times, it has reinforced India’s role in ushering in peace and development,” he said.
“Our pursuits and endeavours should be in the same direction… we should strive towards enhancing the country’s capabilities and capacities in safeguarding our borders,” he added.
Reasserting the “Atmanirbhar India” campaign, the PM said contributing to the campaign would be a tribute to the martyrs in the truest, deepest sense.
Modi said India was ahead of many countries before Independence but “those that lagged behind us then are ahead now”.
“After Independence, we should have made efforts in the defence sector, taking advantage of our prior experience. We did not. But today, in the fields of defence and technology, India is relentlessly endeavouring to advance on those fronts, India is taking strides towards self-reliance,” he added.