India

Expansionism a mental disorder, reflects 18th-century thinking: PM targets China in Diwali address

During an interaction with jawans at Longewala Post in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer on the occasion of Diwali Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said no force in the world could prevent India’s soldiers from protecting the country’s borders. For the last seven years, PM Modi has celebrated the festival of lights with security personnel.

Taking a veiled dig at China, the Prime Minister voiced concern against expansionism and asserted that India is becoming a strong voice against this thinking. “Today the whole world is troubled by expansionist forces. Expansionism is, in a way, a mental disorder and reflects 18th-century thinking. India is also becoming a strong voice against this thinking,” he told soldiers.

“India trusts the policy of understanding others, making them understand, but will reply strongly if it is tested. As long as you are there, this country’s Diwali celebrations will continue in full swing and luminescence,” he added.

His message to soldiers came amid continuing standoff with China at Ladakh border.

Extending greetings to jawans, Modi said his Diwali is incomplete without them. “I extend my Diwali greetings to you. I have brought the greetings of every Indian to you today. You may be on snow-capped mountains or in deserts, but my Diwali is complete only when I celebrate with you. My happiness doubles when I look at the joy on your faces,” he told jawans, including those from the Border Security Force (BSF). “Be it the peaks of the Himalayas, the stretch of the desert, dense forests or the depths of seas — your valour has triumphed in every challenge.”

“The world now understands that this nation won’t compromise its interests, not at any cost. The repute and stature of India is due to your strength and valour. India is clearly presenting its opinions on international fora today because you’ve secured the nation,” he said.

Talking about India’s defence capabilities, PM Modi said, “India is working rapidly to increase its defence capabilities and make its defence sector atmanirbhar (self-reliant). We have decided to focus on the indigenous arms factory. This one decision of the defence sector propelled 130 crore Indians to work towards vocal for local doctrine.”

The Prime Minister also urged troops to innovate, practice yoga and learn an Indian language they don’t already know from their colleagues. “I’d like to implore three points to the armed forces. First is to continue ingenuity by innovating; second is to practice yoga; and third is to learn a language other than your mother tongue and English.”

PM Modi’s visit comes a day after 11 people, including five soldiers, were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in several areas in north Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister took to Twitter to greet people on the occasion of Diwali. “Best wishes to all countrymen on Diwali. Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali! May this festival further brightness and happiness. May everyone be prosperous and healthy,” PM Modi tweeted.

On Friday, PM Modi had appealed to the people to light a diya on Diwali as a salute to the soldiers guarding the nation’s borders. “This Diwali, let us also light a Diya as a #Salute2Soldiers who fearlessly protect our nation. Words can’t do justice to the sense of gratitude we have for our soldiers for their exemplary courage. We are also grateful to the families of those on the borders,” he said.

Other political leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also took to Twitter to extend their wishes.

“This holy festival of Deepawali brings happiness and prosperity in the lives of all the countrymen, I wish all the best health. Best wishes to Deepotsav,” Shah tweeted.

The Defence Minister tweeted: “On this Diwali, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested all the countrymen to light a lamp at their homes in honor of all the soldiers engaged in the defense of India. All of you must light a Diya for soldiers today and express your respect for them. #Salute2Soldiers.”

Finance Minister Sitharaman tweeted: “Deepavali greetings Sparkles Firework sparklerDiya lamp to everyone at India’s borders protecting and defending us all, day & night, harsh winter or blazing summer. You make our lives safe and secure. To you and your dear ones, sincere thanks and gratitude Folded hands #JaiJawan.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O Panneerselvam were among the several others to wish people on Diwali.

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