New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday lauded the soldiers for serving on Indian borders and pointed out that security personnel were the "suraksha kawach" (armour) of the nation. The Prime Minister further said that it is because of the soldiers that people can sleep peacefully.

"Our soldiers are the 'suraksha kawach' of 'Maa Bharti'. It is because of you all that people of our country can sleep peacefully and there is happiness during festivals," the Prime Minister said while addressing the soldiers at Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir.

"I have spent each Diwali with soldiers guarding our borders. Today, I have brought along with me the blessings of crores of Indians for our soldiers here," he said.

The Prime Minister continued his annual tradition of celebrating Diwali with soldiers. He left from Delhi for Nowshera today with minimum security arrangements. Notably, PM Modi has been visiting soldiers on Diwali, ever since he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The Prime Minister also lauded the role played by the brigade in surgical strikes. India had conducted the surgical strike on September 29, 2016, across the Line of Control (LoC) as a response to a terrorist attack on an Army base in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

PM Modi said many attempts were made to spread terrorism after the surgical strike but they were given a befitting reply. India must enhance its military capabilities in line with the changing world and modes of war, the Prime Minister added. He said that connectivity in border areas has improved -- be it from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, Jaisalmer to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Borders and coastal areas lacking normal connectivity now have roads and optical fibres, and this boosts deployment capabilities as well as facilities for soldiers, the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi also said that earlier the country had to depend mostly on imports in the defence sector but with his government's attempts indigenous capabilities have gotten a boost. He hailed the courage of soldiers and said their capability and strength has ensured peace and security for the country. "I want to spend Diwali with family members, so I join you on this festival," he said.

Army chief General M M Naravane had carried out an aerial reconnaissance of forward areas, including Rajouri, on Wednesday and he was briefed about the prevailing security situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Jammu region. An Army operation against terrorists has been going on through the forest belt in the Poonch-Rajouri area. This has been the longest such operation in the recent past and it entered the 26th day on Thursday.

(With inputs from PTI/ANI)

Posted By: Sugandha Jha