Lepcha: India is fast emerging as a “big global player” in the defence sector and the capabilities of its security forces are constantly rising, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
Addressing soldiers here after celebrating Diwali with security personnel stationed near the border, Modi said the circumstances of the world are such that the expectations from India are constantly rising.
“At such an important time, it is necessary that India’s borders are protected and there is an environment of peace in the country and you have a big role in this,” Modi, dressed in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) fatigues, said.
“India is protected till the time my bravehearts are standing on the borders like the Himalayas,” the prime minister said.
“After Independence, these bravehearts (Army personnel) fought so many wars and won the country’s heart. Our jawans have snatched victory in the face of challenges,” he said.
“It is said that ‘parv’ is where the ‘parivaar’ is. On festivals, being away from the family and deployed on the borders exemplifies the commitment to duty. The country is indebted to you,” Modi told the soldiers.
“Therefore, on Diwali, one ‘diya’ is for your safety, and in every prayer, people wish for your safety,” the prime minister said.
“Since 30-35 years, there has been no Diwali that I have not celebrated with you. When I was neither the PM nor the CM, I celebrated Diwali amongst you in border areas,” Modi said.
India’s soldiers have always walked ahead, risking their lives and have always proven that they are the “strongest wall” at the borders, he added.
“For me, a place where our security forces are deployed is no less than a temple,” Modi said.
The prime minister also hailed the role played by the armed forces in evacuations in earthquake-hit areas and during other calamities.
“When we had to pull out people from Sudan, India’s bravehearts completed the mission with courage. When there was an earthquake in Turkiye, they risked lives to save people,” Modi said.
Wherever Indians are in danger, security forces are always committed to ensuring their safety, he asserted.
“We are proud of our forces and soldiers,” Modi added.
“I wish the people of the country from the last village, which I call the first, where I am celebrating Diwali with the security forces. The greetings on Diwali from here are special,” the prime minister said.
He said that the period between the last Diwali and this one has been full of unprecedented achievements for India.
Modi went on to list India’s achievements such as Chandrayaan 3, Aditya L1 launch, winning over 100 medals in the Asian and Paralympic games, moving into the new Parliament building, passage of the women’s reservation bill, successful organising of the G20, and India becoming fifth-largest in the world in terms of GDP.
“If India is touching heights of development with its full force, the credit for that also goes to your capabilities, resolve and sacrifices,” Modi said, addressing the soldiers.
Capabilities of India’s security forces are constantly rising and India is fast emerging as a “big global player” in the defence sector, he said.
“There was a time when we were dependent on others for small things but now, we are also fulfilling the needs of our friends and allies,” Modi said.
In his remarks, Modi also pointed out that in recent years, over 500 women officers were given permanent commission in the Army.
The prime minister arrived in Lepcha in the morning to celebrate Diwali with the security forces.
He shared photographs of his interaction with the soldiers.
The prime minister is seen offering them sweets.
In his post on X, Modi said, “Spending Diwali with our brave security forces in Lepcha, Himachal Pradesh, has been an experience filled with deep emotion and pride.”
“Away from their families, these guardians of our nation illuminate our lives with their dedication,” he said.
“The courage of our security forces is unwavering. Stationed in the toughest terrains, away from their loved ones, their sacrifice and dedication keep us safe and secure,” the prime minister added.
India will always be grateful to these heroes who are the perfect embodiment of bravery and resilience, Modi said in another post.
Earlier in the day, he greeted people on Diwali and wished them joy, prosperity and health.
“Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali! May this special festival bring joy, prosperity and wonderful health to everyone’s lives,” Modi said.
Since coming to power in 2014, Modi has been visiting military facilities to celebrate Diwali.
In 2014, the prime minister celebrated the festival of lights with soldiers at the Siachen Glacier.
In the following year, 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 the 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, Uttarakhand, which was followed by a visit to Kedarnath.
After being re-elected to the high office in 2019, Modi celebrated Diwali in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2020, he was at a border post of Longewala on Diwali and in 2021, he celebrated the festival with soldiers in Nowshera.
The prime minister celebrated Diwali with the armed forces in Kargil last year.