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PM Modi Celebrates Diwali with Troops in J&K’s Rajouri.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday celebrated Diwali with the troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir’s border district of Rajouri and praised them for their valour, saying it enables the government to take decisions hitherto considered impossible.

Accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Modi flew to the Army Brigade Headquarters in Rajouri just a few hours after the Pakistani Army targeted the forward posts in the district. The shelling from across the border was retaliated by the Indian army.

Wearing a combat jacket, Modi exchanged wishes and sweets during his nearly two-hour-long interaction with the troops deployed along the Line of Control, officials said.

Addressing the 1,000-strong soldiers, Modi said, “The valour of the Indian defence forces made it possible for the central government to take decisions which were hitherto considered impossible.”

The prime minister was was apparently referring to India’s preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed besides abrogation of Article 370 provisions. He said everyone wants to celebrate Diwali with their family and so he too travelled to be with his family, which is the “brave jawans of the armed forces”.

“We usually celebrate Diwali with our family. So I also decided to celebrate Diwali with my family and here I am, with my family,” Modi said.

“Whether there is a festival or not, you (forces) always think first of your duty. Although today Diwali is celebrated, today also marks a very significant day for us, especially for our forces… there were people who backstabbed us to capture Kashmir, but our territorial forces destroyed the enemy and managed to keep Kashmir with us,” he said, indirectly referring to Pakistan. “They were successful in capturing a certain part of Kashmir which continues to be with them, but that land is still with us in our hearts.”

Modi said he has always maintained that the security forces should be as modern as possible. He also listed the steps being taken by the BJP-led government to further strengthen and modernise the defence forces, adding that the Government is committed to taking steps to ensure the welfare of soldiers.

“We have not let our forces fall short of any requirements,” he said. “In the last five years, you have been at the forefront of every action we have taken, whether it be the surgical strikes, the airstrikes or even the destruction of terror infrastructure.”

Modi visited the ‘Hall of Fame’ in Rajouri and paid homage to the soldiers and brave citizens who laid down their lives to protect Rajouri and Poonch sectors. He termed the Hall of Fame as ‘Parakram Bhoomi, Prerna Bhoomi, Paavan Bhoomi’.

Highlighting the courage and fortitude of the forces in safeguarding national security, Modi thanked them on behalf of the people of the country for their monumental service.

To pay homage to and mark their contributions, the government endeavoured to etch the landmark National War Memorial in Delhi, he said, adding the increasing number of visitors to the memorial shows the respect accorded by the citizens towards the contributions of armed forces.

Later in a series of tweets, Modi said, “Celebrated #Diwali with the brave soldiers of the Indian Army in Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir. It is always a matter of great joy to be able to interact with these courageous personnel.”

While interacting with our soldiers, I thanked them on behalf of the people of India for their monumental service. Their vigilance and valour keeps our nation safe! I also spoke about the major steps our Government is taking for the welfare of soldiers

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