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Peace Not Possible Without Power: PM Modi's Diwali Message To Kargil Soldiers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited soldiers in Kargil to celebrate Diwali this year and said that nation is safe when its borders are secure, economy strong and society full of confidence.

PM Modi lands in Kargil to celebrate Diwali with the Indian armed forces
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In keeping with his tradition to spend festivals like Diwali and Raksha Bandhan with the armed forces of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a beeline for Kargil this year to celebrate the 'festival of lights' with soldiers stationed in the remote area.

Addressing the soldiers in Kargil on October 24, Modi said that India has always viewed war as the last resort, but the armed forces have the strength and strategies to give a befitting reply to anyone who casts an evil eye on the nation. In keeping with the current dispensations' projection of the country as a non-violent albeit powerful nation, Modi further stated that India has never viewed war as the first option but that peace cannot be achieved without strength. 

"We have always seen war as the final resort. We are in favour of global peace.. But peace cannot be achieved without strength," Modi said.

Recalling Kargil war with Pakistan

Addressing the armed forces here on Diwali, the prime minister also recalled his visit to this frontier region in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict in 1999 when the Indian military had "crushed the hood of terror".

There has not been a single war with Pakistan when Kargil has not flown the victory flag," he said adding that Diwali symbolised the "celebration of the end of terror".

"I have witnessed the Kargil war closely. It was my duty that had brought me to Kargil back then. There are many memories of that time when the sounds of victory were reverberating all around," Modi said, continuing with the tradition set by him to celebrate Diwali at the country's frontiers.

 "In Kargil, our armed forces had crushed the hood of terror and people still remember the Diwali that was celebrated back then," he said.

Focus on strengthening armed forces 

Modi said over the last eight years, the government has worked on implementing reforms in the armed forces by deploying new technologies, developing infrastructure in border areas and opening up positions for women in the forces.

This year saw a lot of protests by army aspirants as well as criticism from sections of the army against the Modi government which in June introduced the new Agnipath scheme to reform army recruitments. 

The tour of duty style scheme which was introduced on 14 June 2022, for recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces. Among the key and most contested features of the reforms is that all recruits can be hired only for a four-year- period.

Despite protests, however, the scheme was implemented and has been boasting of high enrollment levels. 

Stating the reforms in the armed forces that were required for decades are now being implemented, PM Modi said that these reforms, like the induction of women in the armed forces, will boost the nation's strength.

The prime minister said a nation is safe when its borders are secure, economy strong and society full of confidence.

Peace vs Power

In Kargil, PM Modi also spoke about both internal and external threats. India has been dealing with its enemies, both external and internal, with force, Modi said and recounted the steps taken to "uproot" the "terror, naxalism and extremism" from within the country.

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"We have always seen war as the final resort. We are in favour of global peace.. But peace cannot be achieved without strength," Modi said.

"Our armed forces have the strategies as well as the strength. If anyone dares cast an evil eye on us, our three armed forces know very well how to give a befitting reply," the prime minister said.

'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'

Harking to the party's campaign for 'atmanirbharta' (self reliance) PM Modi declared that India should look for ways to be minimally dependent on foreign weapons and systems and instead inculcate a sense of 'self-reliance' as becoming 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) is the only way to achieve a nation's security. 

Past Diwalis in military bases 

This is not the first time Modi has visited military facilities across the country to commemorate special days like Diwali. 

In 2014, the prime minister had visited the Siachen Glacier to sped his first Diwali as Prime Minister with soldiers stationed a the remote location.

In 2015,  on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan, Modi visited three memorials in Punjab where the Indian armed forces had fought pitched battles that proved to be key to the country's victory.

In 2016, the prime minister travelled to Himachal Pradesh to meet personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Dogra Scouts and the army at Sumdoh near the China border.

In 2017, Modi was in the Gurez sector in north Kashmir, while in 2018, he celebrated Diwali in Harsil in Uttarakhand which was followed by a visit to Kedarnath.

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After being re-elected as PM on 2019, Modi celebrated Diwali in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2020, he was at a border post of Longewala on Diwali, while last year, he was in Nowshera. 

(With inputs from PTI

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