In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday delivered a strong message to China and Pakistan as he said the armed forces have given a befitting reply to those challenging the country”s sovereignty “from LoC to LAC”.
Though the reference to China and Pakistan was clear, he did not name the two countries in his 86-minute speech.
“From LoC (Line of Control) to LAC (Line of Actual Control), anyone who casts an eye on the sovereignty of the country, the armed forces of the country have responded in the language they understand,” Modi said.
His comments came in the midst of India”s bitter border row with China along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
There has also been significant rise in incidents of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in the last few months, according to officials.
“Whether it is terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting both with determination,” Modi said.
Referring to the Galwan Valley clash in eastern Ladakh in June, the prime minister said respect for India”s sovereignty is supreme and that the world has seen in Ladakh what its brave jawans can do to maintain this resolve.
“I salute all those brave soldiers from the Red Fort,” Modi said, adding the whole country is united in protecting the sovereignty of the country.
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last three months.
The tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details
India and China have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks for disengagement of troops in the eastern Ladakh region. However, the process has not moved forward as expected by India.
The prime minister said India is connecting with its neighbours through partnership of security, development and trust.
“Today, neighbours are not only those who share the same geographical boundaries but also those who meet our hearts,” he added.
During a visit to Ladakh last month, Modi had said the era of expansionism is over and that India”s enemies have seen the “fire and fury” of its armed forces, signalling India”s firmness in dealing with the border row with China