Sending out a strong message over the death of 20 soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his first statement on the dispute with China at Galwan Valley in Ladakh. PM Modi said that the sacrifice of soldiers who are martyred will not go in vain and added, “India is a peace-loving country but no one should be in any doubt, India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation.”
The PM made these remarks just before the second half of his video conference with Chief Ministers and Lt Governors over the handling of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Paying homage, he said, “I pay homage to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country and convey my condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I want to tell the country that the sacrifice of the soldiers will not go in vain. India wants peace, but if antagonised if can and will give a befitting reply whatever the situation.” A two-minute silence was also kept for the martyred soldiers.
He said, “We have always worked closely with our neighbours in the spirit of cooperation, and resolving differences before they become dispute. But we have also, whenever our sovereignty is challenged, reacted with strength in defending ourselves,” adding: “Peace and sacrifice is in our national character but so is valour and resolve. Wherever there have been differences, we have always tried that the differences should not become a dispute.”
He warned China by saying, “We never provoke anyone but we will not compromise with integrity and sovereignty. Whenever time has come, we have proved our strength and capabilities in protecting our integrity and sovereignty. Sacrifice and resilience is in our national character. But valour and courage is also our country›s character. Nothing can stop us from protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the country. No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation.”
After the violent face-off between both troops on the intervening night of 15-16 June in Ladakh, 20 soldiers were martyred. There are reports of 43 casualties on the Chinese side.
Sources say that there is still tension on the border. However, negotiations are also on. Meanwhile, PM Modi has convened an allparty meeting on 19 June.