‘Every Indian is proud of the armed forces’: PM Modi dedicates 48th ‘Mann Ki Baat’ to country’s soldiers

New Delhi: In the 48th edition of his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Sunday, wherein he lauded the valour of the Indian armed forces. He further said that India believes in peace but it won’t compromise its sovereignty in the pursuit of it.

“It is now clear that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to those who try to disrupt the atmosphere of peace and progress in our country. We believe in peace and are committed to preserve it, but not at the cost of our self-respect and sovereignty,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi’s radio address comes a day after India marked the second anniversary of the Army’s surgical strike that destroyed terror camps across the Line of Control or LoC in September 2016.

Hours before his radio address was broadcast to people across the country, India and Pakistan had just finished duelling in the UN General Assembly, with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj decimating Pakistan over not doing enough to end terrorism.

Though the Prime Minister focused majorly on the armed forces, he also touched upon other subjects such as human rights and the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Here are the major highlights from PM Modi’s address:

  • The Prime Minister said that the entire nation celebrated ‘Parakram Parv’ on Saturday and remembered the surgical strike of 2016 – when Indian “soldiers gave a befitting reply to the proxy war under the garb of terrorism”. He added that every Indian is proud of the armed forces – who are ready to respond to those who try to disrupt the atmosphere of peace in our country.
  • PM Modi recalled India’s contribution to maintaining peace in the world. “Our more than one lakh soldiers have sacrificed their lives for peace in two World Wars,” he said.
  • “They made the sacrifice when India had no relation in those wars. Our intention has never been to occupy the lands of other countries. Our only commitment was to maintain peace,” PM Modi added.
  • “We recently celebrated 100 years of the Haifa War of Israel on 23 September and we remembered the brave soldiers of Mysore, Hyderabad and Jodhpur Lancers who liberated Haifa,” he said.
  • The prime minister also said that India remains committed to peace and is one of the nations to send the highest number of soldiers to the various peacekeeping forces of the United Nations.
  • Taking note of the upcoming Air Force Day on 8 October, PM Modi said that it has become one of the most powerful air forces in the 21st century and recalled their contribution in transporting men and material to Srinagar in 1947 when Pakistani attackers had tried to capture Jammu and Kashmir.
  • PM Modi – while invoking memories of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and the 1999 Kargil War – said that Indian Air Force has protected the nation time and again and is also at the forefront of relief and rescue work during times of disasters. He lauded the Indian Air Force for setting an example in gender equality, by offering the option of permanent commission to women.
  • Talking about 2 October, Modi said that this year will mark the start of celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. He said that Gandhi inspired a lot of people including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Calling Gandhi a ‘mass leader’, Modi said he endeared himself to people across all sections of society.
  • The Prime Minister also remembered Lal Bahadur Shastri and said that he used to appear humble, but was resolute like a rock. Shastri’s slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ is emblematic of his strong personality, he added.
  • He also congratulated the people of India on the success of the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ movement, which was launched on 15 September. He said that people from all sections of society joined the movement and he himself participated at the Ambedkar School in Delhi.
  • PM Modi also said that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will complete 25 years in a few days and said that the NHRC has created awareness about human rights.
  • Remembering Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi said that even the former prime minister had said that human rights are not alien to us. “We must recognise the importance of human rights and practice it, this is foundation of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’,” he added.