Addressing a gathering of soldiers in Lepcha, PM Modi extended warm wishes to the security personnel stationed at the borders, expressing, “In the last 30-35 years, there has not been a single Diwali that I have not celebrated with you.”
He further shared, “I come and celebrate Diwali every year with our Army personnel. It is said that Ayodhya is where Lord Ram is, but for me, Ayodhya is where Indian Army personnel are. My festival is where you are,” emphasising his deep connection with the armed forces.
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. pic.twitter.com/KE5eaxoglw
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 12, 2023
Addressing the jawans, the Prime Minister remarked that the amalgamation of the festival of Diwali and the echoes of acclamation of the courage of the jawans is a moment of enlightenment for every citizen of the country. He conveyed his best wishes on Diwali along with the jawans from the border areas of India, the country’s last village, which has now been deemed the first village.
Recounting his experience, the Prime Minister said that festivities are wherever the family is there and called the situation of being away from family on the day of the festival for safeguarding the border pinnacle of devotion to duty. He said that the feeling of treating 140 crore Indians as their family gives the security personnel a sense of purpose. “Country is grateful and indebted to you for this. That is why one ‘Diya’ is lit for your safety in every household”, he said. “The place where jawans are posted is not less than any temple for me. Wherever you are, my festival is there. This is going on for perhaps 30-35 years”, he added.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the jawans and the tradition of sacrifice by the armed forces. “Our brave jawans have proven themselves to be the strongest wall on the border”, he said. “Our brave jawans have always won the hearts of the citizens by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.” the Prime Minister said as he highlighted the contributions of the armed forces in nation-building. He mentioned natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis as well as international peace missions where the armed forces have saved numerous lives. “Armed forces have taken India’s pride to new heights”, he remarked. The Prime Minister also mentioned proposing a memorial hall for peacekeepers at the United Nations last year which was unanimously passed and said that it will immortalise their contributions towards establishing world peace.
Underlining the role of Indian armed forces in evacuation missions not only for Indians but for foreign nationals as well, the Prime Minister recalled the successful evacuation carried out from the turmoil in Sudan and the rescue mission after the earthquake in Turkiye. “From the combat field to rescue missions, the Indian armed forces are committed to saving lives”, the Prime Minister said. He added that every citizen feels pride in the country’s armed forces.
Pointing towards the global expectations from India in the current world scenario, the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of the secured border, peace and stability in the country. “India is safe as its borders are protected by the brave jawans with Himalaya-like determination”, he said.
Marking Diwali with our brave Jawans at Lepcha, Himachal Pradesh. https://t.co/Ptp3rBuhGx
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 12, 2023
The Prime Minister narrated the achievements in the last one year since the last Diwali and mentioned Chandrayaan landing, Aditya L1, test related to Gaganyaan, indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, Tumkur helicopter factory, Vibrant Village campaign, and sporting achievements. Continuing further with global and democratic gains in the last one year, the Prime Minister talked about the new Parliament Building, Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam, G20, biofuel alliance, preeminence in real-time payment in the world, crossing 400 billion dollars in exports, becoming 5th biggest economy of the world, strides in 5G roll out. “The past year is a milestone year in nation-building”, he said. He said India made great strides in infrastructure development and became the country with the world’s second-largest road network, longest river cruise service, rapid rail service Namo Bharat, Vande Bharat on 34 new routes, India-Middle East-Europe Corridor, two world-class convention centers in Delhi – Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi, India became the country with the highest number of universities, best tourism village award for Dhordo village and inclusions of Shanti Niketan and Hoysala temple complex in UNESCO world heritage list.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the country can strive for a better future as long as its borders remain guarded. He credited the development of India to the strength, resolutions and sacrifices of the armed forces.
Noting that India has created possibilities from its struggles, the Prime Minister said that the nation has now stepped on the path of Atmanirbhar Bharat. He highlighted India’s unprecedented growth in the defence sector and its emergence as a global player and said that the strength of India’s armies and security forces is continuously increasing. He recalled how the nation was dependent on others for the smallest needs earlier, while it is meeting the needs of friendly nations today. He informed that India’s defence exports have increased more than 8 times since the PM visited the region in 2016. “Defence production worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore is taking place in the country today. This is a record in itself”, he added.
The Prime Minister touched upon the integration of high-tech technology and important systems like CDS and said that the Indian Army is continuously becoming more modern. He added that India will no longer have to look towards other countries in times of need in the near future. Amidst this increasing spread of technology, Shri Modi urged the armed forces to always keep human understanding paramount in the use of technology. He emphasized that technology should never overpower human sensibilities.
The Prime Minister said “Today, indigenous resources and top-class border infrastructure are also becoming our strength. And I am happy that Narishakti is also playing a big role in this.” He mentioned the commissioning of 500 Women Officers during the past year, women pilots flying Rafale fighter jets and the posting of women officers on warships. Speaking about the importance of taking care of the needs of the armed forces, the Prime Minister mentioned dresses suitable for extreme temperatures, drones to augment and protect jawans and payment of 90 thousand crore under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
The Prime Minister concluded his address by reciting a couplet and said that every step by the armed forces determines the direction of history. He expressed confidence that the armed forces will continue to serve Mother India with the same determination and said, “With your support, the nation will continue to touch new heights of development. Together we will fulfill every resolution of the country.”