Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 28 put out a strong statement on the ongoing stalemate between India and China in east Ladakh, saying that “the world has seen India’s commitment to protecting its borders and sovereignty. In Ladakh, a befitting reply has been given to those coveting our territory.”
He said this in his monthly radio broadcast, ‘Mann ki Baat’, referring to the sacrifice of the 20 Indian soldiers who had lost their lives in the violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops in east Ladakh on June 15th as one that the whole country paid homage to.
“India is peace loving but if anyone casts an eye on our territory and sovereignty, we are more than capable of giving a befitting reply,” he said. Without mentioning China, he quoted a Sanskrit sloka that characterised for India, what Chinese actions at the border revealed about the country’s character. “Vidya vivaad dhanam madaya, shakti pareshan paripeedanaya. Khalasya sadho vipareetam etat, gyaanaya, daanaya cha rakshanam (For crooked persons, knowledge is meant for arguments, wealth for ego, power for troubling others. The opposite is the case among noble souls, knowledge is meant for wisdom, wealth for donation and power to protect the weak),” he said. Noting that the sentiments expressed by the family members of those slain in the violent phase lent courage to the entire country, he referred in particular to jawan Kundan Kumar’s father who has, despite losing a son, expressed a desire to see two of his grandsons serve the Indian Army.
He also referred to a correspondent from Assam, Rajani, who said that after the clashes in Ladakh she was determined to buy locally made products and advocate for them.
Mr. Modi said the challenges that 2020 had brought to the country, like COVID-19, cyclones Amphan and Nisarga, and locust attacks apart from the situation in east Ladakh, should not weigh the country down. “We must face the challenges and use them to march ahead,” he said.
He added that India had transited from the lockdown phase of fighting COVID-19 to the unlock phase, which would require more alertness and care. Taking the point further to highlight recent reforms his government had undertaken, the Prime Minister said, “India is unlocking, be it sectors like coal, space, agriculture and more” and that it was time “to work together to make India self-reliant and technologically advanced.” He pointed out that before Independence, India had an edge in defence production which it lost subsequently, and that it was time to regain that edge.
Mr. Modi also paid fulsome tributes to late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, whose centenary year celebrations are being kicked off on June 28. He referred to Rao as one of the most experienced leaders of modern India, a polyglot and someone who steered India through a very delicate phase in its history.