Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday attended and addressed a commemorative event to mark Kargil Vijay Diwas, at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.
PM Modi paid homage to the Martyrs, who laid down their lives, defending the heights of Kargil. He also appreciated the people of Jammu and Kashmir who fulfilled their duty towards the nation.
He said the victory achieved in the mountains of Kargil, 20 years ago, will continue to inspire us for generations.
Modi described the Kargil victory, as a victory of the bravery of India’s son’s and daughters, of India’s resolve, and of India’s capability and fortitude. He further described it as a victory of India’s dignity and discipline; and a victory of the hopes and devotion to duty of each Indian.
He asserted that wars are not fought by Governments alone, but by the entire nation and the soldiers sacrifice their all, for future generations. He said the deeds of these soldiers are a matter of pride for each and every Indian.
Modi said that he had visited Kargil just a few months after assuming office in 2014. He also recalled that he had visited Kargil 20 years ago, at the height of the Kargil war. Recalling the valour of the jawans in Kargil, he said that the entire country stood together with the soldiers. Youth were donating blood, and even children were donating their pocket money for the soldiers.
He recalled that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that we would be failing in our duty towards our Motherland, if we cannot care for our soldiers throughout their lives. He expressed satisfaction that in the last five years, the Union Government has taken a number of decisions for the welfare of soldiers, and their families. In this context, he mentioned One Rank, One Pension; enhanced scholarship for wards of martyrs; and the National War Memorial.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has repeatedly resorted to deceit in Kashmir, and we did not allow them to succeed in 1999 either.
He recalled the resolve of Prime Minister Vajpayee for an effective response to Pakistan, which the enemy had no answer to. He added that the earlier peace initiative of the Vajpayee government had created a better understanding of India’s position, across the world.
PM Modi asserted that India has never been an aggressor, in history. The Indian Armed Forces are perceived as defenders of humanity and peace across the world. He recalled the liberation of Haifa in Israel by Indian soldiers, and the memorial in France for the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during World War 1. He said over a lakh Indian soldiers were martyred during the World Wars; and even in UN peacekeeping missions, it is Indian soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice in the highest number. He also mentioned the dedication and service of the Armed Forces in natural calamities.
The Prime Minister said conflicts have reached space, and the cyber world. Therefore, he added, the Armed Forces must be modernized. He said that when it comes to national security, India will not bow to pressure, or be found wanting in any manner.
In this context, he mentioned the establishment of India’s nuclear triad through Arihant, and the testing of A-SAT – the anti-satellite test. He said the Armed Forces are being rapidly modernized, and efforts are being made to increase the participation of the private sector for “Make in India” in the defence sector. He stressed on the importance of “jointness” among the three wings of the Armed Forces.
He said infrastructure is being strengthened in the border areas. He spoke of steps being taken for the development of border areas, and the welfare of people living there.
In conclusion, PM Modi emphasized that it was the entire nation that won freedom in 1947; it was the entire nation for which the Constitution was written in 1950; and it was for the entire country, that more than 500 brave soldiers laid down their lives in the snowy heights of Kargil.
He called for a collective resolve to ensure, that these sacrifices do not go in vain, and seeking inspiration in the deeds of these martyrs, we make the India of their dreams.