Pithoragarh | ANI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that the 'new and powerful India' will give a befitting reply to any efforts made by Pakistan to destabilize peace in the country. Singh, who was addressing the Shaheed Samman Yatra in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh, said, "Pakistan makes all efforts to destabilize peace in India but we have sent a clear message to them that we will hit back. This is a new and powerful India."

Speaking on the occasion, Singh also informed that the ex-gratia amount provided in case of the battle casualties has been increased to Rs 8 lakh by the Centre.

"Earlier, the ex-gratia amount for the battle casualty was Rs 2 lakh which has been increased by four times," he said.

Recalling his visit to Rezang La in Ladakh on November 18, he said, "I went to Rezang La where I was told that about the miracle performed by 124 jawans of Kumaon Battalion...It can never be forgotten. I was told that 114 jawans were killed in action, but they killed over 1200 Chinese soldiers. I had the privilege of visiting the place."

He also stated that if there is a fifth Dham in Uttarakhand, it will have the soil from the homes of soldiers killed in action.

"There are four Dhams in Uttarakhand and if 'Sainya Dham' is made, we will have a fifth Dham here. This Dham will have soil from martyrs' homes...Their names and the names of their villages should also be written in the (Sainya) Dham," he added.

BJP Chief JP Nadda had inaugurated the Shaheed Samman Yatra in Chamoli on November 15 to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by soldiers from Uttarakhand.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma