New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a morale booster for the Indian soldiers posted along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Leh where he interacted with personnel of the Army, Air Force and ITBP. The unannouced visit this morning to review the security situation came in wake of the June 15 Galwan Valley clash that claimed lives of 20 Indian soldiers.  

Addressing the soldiers in Nimmoo, PM Modi said: "The bravery that you and your compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India’s strength."

Highlighting the fact that the government has increased expenditure on development of infrastructure in the border area by three times, the remarks came as a clear and stern message to China which has been resorting to aggression along the Line of Actual Control, trying to disrupt the status quo at the disputed areas, particularly in eastern Ladakh.   

Paying tributes to the soldiers martyred in the Galwan Valley clash, PM Modi said: "Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today."

"The bravery of 14 Corps will be talked about everywhere. Tales of your bravery and valour are echoing in every house in the country. Bharat Mata's enemies have seen your fire and fury," the prime minister added.

He said that vision of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat" is strengthened by the bravery and valour of the soldiers. "Atmanirbhar Bharat ka sankalp aapke ke tyaag, balidaan , pursharth ke karan aur bhi mazboot hota hai," the prime minister said. 

Pointing out that India favours peace but is also committed to safeguarding its territories, PM Modi said: "Whether World Wars or peace, whenever the need arises, the world has seen the victory of our braves and their efforts towards peace. We have worked for the betterment of humanity."

"We are the same people who pray to the flute playing Lord Krishna but we are also the same people who idolise and follow the same Lord Krishna who carries the 'Sudarshana Chakra': PM Modi in Ladakh," he added. 

Without naming China, the prime minister hit out at the "expansionist" China saying that the age of expansionism has now been taken over by the age of development. 

Earlier, the prime minister, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, reviewed the security situation along the Line of Actual Control and also interacted with the soldiers. 

PM Modi visited the forward locations in Nimu, Ladakh where he interacted with personnel of Army, Air Force & ITBP. Located at 11,000 feet, Nimu is among the tough terrains, surrounded by Zanskar range and on the banks of the Indus.

"Interacting with our brave armed forces personnel at Nimu," the PM posted, sharing a photo on his Instagram account. The prime minister is accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane.  

Ths visit comes amid the heightened tensions between India and China following the Chinese agression at Ladakh's Galwan Valley last month which claimed lives of 20 Indian soldiers. 

In his Mann Ki Baat address last Sunday, PM Modi said that India gave a befitting response to China on Ladakh. "Those who eyed Indian territory in Ladakh have received a befitting response. If India knows how to maintain friendship, it can also confront someone and give an adequate response. Our brave soldiers made it clear that they will not allow anyone to taint the honour of Mother India," he had said. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh thanked PM Modi for making a surprise visit to Ladakh amid border tensions with China and meeting the soldiers, saying that it has boosted the morale of the Indian Army.

"The borders of the country have always been secure under the Indian Army. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Ladakh to meet and encourage the soldiers has certainly boosted the morale of the Army. I commend the Prime Minister's move and thank him for it," Singh tweeted in Hindi.

On Thursday, Singh had called off his visit to Ladakh. The defence minister was to be accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane.

The Army Chief visited Ladakh on June 23 and 24 during which he held a series of meetings with senior Army officials and visited various forward areas in eastern Ladakh.

After the deadly Galwan clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, both India and China agreed to resolve the dispute peacefully with dialogue. However, the commander-level talks held on June 6, June 22 and June 30 have reportedly failed to reach a consensus.  

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta