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.
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 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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