Modi invokes soldiers’ sacrifices, says India capable of befitting reply to China

India’s relations with China have come under unprecedented strain after the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in a bloody face-off in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling the country that the sacrifices of soldiers along the border “will not go in vain”.
India wants peace but is capable of giving a befitting reply if provoked, said Mr Modi in his first remarks on the border clash between soldiers of the Indian and Chinese army in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
Mr Modi began his meeting with chief ministers of the states on the Covid-19 with a two-minute silence as a tribute to the 20 soldiers who were killed in action in Galwan Valley. “I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain. For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important,” PM Modi said. Home minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were among those present in the meeting.
Mr Modi’s remarks indicated a hardening of position by New Delhi vis-à-vis Beijing in the wake of the first violent clash on the contested Line of Actual Control on June 16 in nearly five decades.

Under pressure to avenge the killing of Indian soldiers, Mr Modi will be looking to firm up political consensus at an all-party meeting he has called on June 19 to discuss the fraught situation along the India-China border. Leaders of various political parties are expected to take part in the virtual meeting.
Indicating the grim national mood in India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also underlined that the loss of soldiers in Galwan was “deeply disturbing and painful”.

The Indian Army on June 16 confirmed the death of 20 personnel in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan area, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The clashes were sparked by an argument over the position of Chinese soldiers who were erecting a new post on the southern bank of Galwan river in a ‘buffer zone.’
“The Nation will never forget their bravery and sacrifice. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers. The nation stand shoulder to shoulder with them in this difficult hour. We are proud of the bravery and courage of India’s bravehearts,” Rajnath Singh said in the statement posted on Twitter.

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