Country can sleep because our soldiers are awake: PM Modi
Lauding the security forces for their service for the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spent this year’s Diwali with jawans of the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Dogra Scouts, said, “In the wake of recent events, our soldiers have been sacrificing their everything for the safety and security of the country. Their dedication and valour has overwhelmed me completely. Let us dedicate this Diwali to our armed forces.”
The Prime Minister spent the Diwali with the jawans at forward posts along the Sino-Indian border in Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. In 2014, the Prime Minister had celebrated his first Diwali as PM of the country, with Army personnel in Saichen and on the next year, 2015, Modi celebrated the event on the Punjab border with Pakistan.
The Prime Minister dedicated a large part of his Mann ki Baat address on radio hailing the soldiers, saluting their valour, and lauding their sacrifices. PM Modi called upon people to remember their gallantry while celebrating Diwali.
“Our forces endure grave hardships for our security. Someone is stationed in a desert, someone on the Himalayas, someone is guarding our industrial installations and someone is protecting our airports. Everyone is fulfilling a mighty responsibility. If we remember them while being in a festive mood, our remembrance will give them strength and renewed energy,” Modi said.
According to media reports, Modi’s visit to Himachal Pradesh was kept a closely guarded secret until the time his chopper landed at Chango, near Sumdo, a base camp of the Army and ITBP in Lahaul-Spiti.
Following his visit, he later travelled to Sumdo in Kinnaur district, where he spent 15-20 minutes with jawans and distributed sweets. “We had no information about the Prime Minister’s visit. There were media reports about him celebrating Diwali with ITBP jawans in Uttrakhand,” Chief Secretary V C Pharka said, according to a report in The Indian Express.
To the jawans, who raised slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”, the PM said: “Because you guard our borders, people sleep at night. If you were not on the borders, people couldn’t have slept.”
The Prime Minister also recalled that ‘One Rank, One pension’ (OROP) had been one of his first moves on assuming charge as PM. “When I asked for the file, I realised the liability was not Rs 200 crore or Rs 500 crore. It was Rs 10,000 crore. I consulted Army officers, suggesting that the arrears be paid in four instalments. I compliment the Army officers who agreed, and now the arrears were being deposited in instalments,” he said.