Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated the festival of lights Diwali with soldiers. While Modi reached Gurez Sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, Sitharaman was with the troops and their families at Military Station Brichgunj in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Army today said that PM Modi reached Bandipora district along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate Diwali with the troops posted in the forward area, according to PTI. The PM was accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Northern Command chief Lt General Devraj Anbu and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu in Gurez.
This was the fourth successive Diwali that the Prime Minister has celebrated with jawans on the border. Modi also offered sweets and exchanged greetings with the jawans.
The Prime Minister is known for celebrating Diwali in the remotest locations of the country. This year he celebrated the festival with 15 Corps troops in the Gurez Sector. Meanwhile, Sitharaman interacted with the troops and their families at Military Station Brichgunj on Diwali. She is on a two-day visit (October 18-19) to Andaman and Nicobar Command.
Addressing the jawans, the PM said that like everyone else, he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family. Therefore, he said, he had come among the jawans of the Armed Forces, whom he considers to be “his family.”
Modi further said that he gets new energy when he spends time among the jawans and soldiers of the Armed Forces.
Modi praised jawans practising Yoga. He said this would definitely enhance their abilities, and give them a sense of calm. Modi also said that jawans who leave the Armed Forces after completing their duty tenure, can become excellent yoga trainers subsequently.
Our Forces protect our Motherland with utmost valour, displaying highest traditions of sacrifice and dedication. http://t.co/DopgqX00cr
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2017
While asserting that the Union Government is committed to the welfare and the betterment of the Armed Forces, the PM also encouraged the jawans to innovate, so that their routine tasks and duties become easier and safer. He mentioned how best innovations are now being recognised and awarded at the Army Day, Navy Day, and Air Force Day.
In the visitors’ book, Modi wrote, “Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication.
“I have an opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians.
“To accomplish the dream of ‘New India’, this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The Army too is a part of it.”
A PIB release said that Sitharaman was received at INS Utkrosh by Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd), and Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command.
Sitharaman was also presented a joint services Guard of Honour by the troops of Andaman & Nicobar Command. Later, she was given a comprehensive brief on the security environment and thrust areas of the Command. In the evening on Wednesday, Sitharaman attended cultural programme. The release said that the Defence Minister “appreciated the work being done by the troops in the challenging environment and exhorted them to continue service to the nation in the highest traditions of Indian Armed Forces.”
Last year, PM Modi had celebrated Diwali with ITBP personnel in Uttarakhand along the Indo-China border. He had also spent some time with forces along the Punjab border and on the Siachen Glacier.
In 2014, the Prime Minister had spent Diwali with the people of Kashmir in the aftermath of the devastating floods in the Valley.
On Thursday, PM Modi also took to Twitter to extend his Diwali wishes through a picture signed by him. It was captioned in Hindi, which translated reads as, “Warm greetings to the countrymen on the auspicious festival of Diwali”.