Lepcha (Himachal Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spent his Diwali morning with Indian Army soliders in Himachal Pradesh’s Lepcha and extended festival greetings to the people of the country.
Addressing a gathering of soldiers at Lepcha, PM Modi extended his warm wishes to the security personnel posted at the borders and told them, “In the last 30-35 years, there has not been a single Diwali that I have not celebrated with you.”
“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,” PM Modi said.
“When I was neither the Prime Minister nor the Chief Minister, I would go to the border areas during Diwali to celebrate with the security forces,” he said.
He further said that in every home in the country, a prayer is said for all soldiers guarding our borders.
“It is said that festival is celebrated only where there is family, but today, you all are stationed at the borders while being away from your families, it shows the pinnacle of your devotion to duty,” the Prime Minister said.
“For me, a place where security forces are deployed is no less than a temple,” he added.
PM Modi also lauded security forces for their contribution to nation-building, enhancing the country’s global prestige
“Given the situation in the world today, expectations from India are continuously increasing. In such a situation, it is important that India’s borders remain secure. India is safe so long as its brave soldiers are standing on its borders, unflinching as the Himalayas. India’s Army and security forces have constantly contributed towards nation-building,” he said.
He noted that in the past years in the Indian Army, more than 500 women officers have been given permanent commissions. “Today, women pilots are flying fighter planes like Rafale,” he said.
He further emphasized that after Independence, Army personnel fought so many wars and won the country’s heart.
“In the International Peace Mission, India’s global image was improved because of them. Is there any such issue, to which our brave hearts have not provided solution?…” PM Modi said.
After reaching Lepcha village, the Prime Minster tweeted, “Reached Lepcha in Himachal Pradesh to celebrate Diwali with our brave security forces”, Prime Minister Modi said in a post on X.
Earlier in the day, he greeted people on Diwali and wished them joy, prosperity and health.
Troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Indian Army are stationed at Lepcha near the border with China
Himachal Pradesh shares a 260-km border with China. Of the total length, 140 km is in tribal Kinnaur district, while 80 km is in the tribal Lahaul and Spiti district.
Five ITBP battalions deployed in 20 posts that guard the border with China.
Last year, Prime Minister Modi celebrated the festival of lights with soldiers in Kargil and said Diwali means the “festival of end of terror” and that Kargil had made it possible.
The Prime Minister has been celebrating the festival with soldiers for several years now. In 2019, the Prime Minister celebrated Diwali with soldiers in the Rajouri district along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
He had called soldiers as his family and lauded them for guarding the borders even during festivals. He had exchanged Diwali greetings with the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel at Pathankot Air Force Station.
In 2018, Prime Minister Modi celebrated Diwali with jawans of the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), at Harsil in Uttarakhand. Following that he had offered prayers at the Kedarnath shrine.
In 2017, the Prime Minister celebrated the festival of light with army soldiers and Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in the Gurez Valley of Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora District. In 2016, the PM went to Himachal Pradesh to celebrate the festival with Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel at an outpost. He visited the Punjab border to celebrate Diwali with soldiers in 2015.
In 2014, Prime Minister Modi spent Diwali in Siachen with soldiers. Notably, PM Modi has been visiting soldiers on Diwali, ever since he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. (Agencies)