Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing troops during a surprise visit to a forward post in Ladakh yesterday, said: "The weak can never accomplish peace, the brave do."
Describing the soldiers as "the braves of the soil", the Prime Minister said the "enemy has seen your fire and fury," delivering a strong, direct message to China after the June 15 clash in which 20 soldiers were killed in action.
"The age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back," said the Prime Minister, not mentioning China.
"Every single Indian across the world, especially in India, has the belief that you all can deliver and keep the nation strong and safe. Your courage is higher than the heights where you are stationed. Your arms are as strong as the mountains that surround you. Your confidence, determination and belief are as immovable as the peaks here."
The PM's visit served as a powerful statement against Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since early May, which escalated to a deadly brawl on June 15 in which 20 soldiers were killed and over 70 injured. Army sources said 45 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured.
Chants of "Bharat Mata ki jai" and "Vande Mataram" broke out when he arrived at Nimu earlier yesterday. A video showed soldiers cheering as the Prime Minister walked amidst them, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and Army Chief General MM Naravane. He was flown by chopper to Nimu, 11,000 feet up in the Himalayas and on the banks of the river Indus.
PM Modi first interacted with soldiers from the Army, Air Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police, sitting in a camouflage tent. Later, he addressed the troops, reports NDTV.
"Our enemies have seen your Fire and your Fury," he said, addressing the XIV Corps of the Army in Leh. Modi also visited a hospital where several soldiers wounded in the clash are recovering. China and India have long had a prickly relationship.
Both sides have blamed each other for the clash and since sent thousands of extra troops to the region, reports AFP.