Srinagar: In an unannounced visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reached Gurez valley, near the Line of Control in North Kashmir to take part in the Diwali celebrations along with the Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF), soldiers.
Modi was accompanied by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Northern Command chief Lt General Devraj Anbu and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu.
This is the second time that Modi is celebrating Diwali with troops in Kashmir after he became the PM. His first visit was in 2014.
The Prime Minister called upon the armed forces to be part of the nation’s endeavour to create a ‘New India’.
After offering sweets and exchanging greetings with the jawans, Modi in his address to them said that like everyone else, he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family.
Therefore, he said, he had come among the jawans of the Armed Forces, whom he considers to be “his family”.
Modi spent two hours with the soldiers in Gurez valley, and offered sweets and exchanged greetings with the soldiers.
Modi said he gets new energy when he spends time among the jawans and soldiers of the armed forces and appreciated their penance and sacrifice, amid harsh conditions.
Modi said the Centre is committed to the welfare and the betterment of the Armed Forces, in every way possible.
In this regard, he mentioned the implementation of One Rank, One Pension, which had been pending for decades.
On a lighter note, PM Modi said that jawans who leave armed forces after completing their duty tenure can become excellent yoga trainers subsequently.
Notably, in 2016, the Modi had met the jawans of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Army and Dogra Scouts in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Diwali.
He had even launched a campaign named “Sandesh for Soldiers” to send Diwali greetings to those serving on India’s borders and prominent celebrities like film actors Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar as well as several Union Ministers had participated in the campaign.
In 2015, the PM had celebrated Diwali with soldiers at the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa in Amritsar.
In 2014, Modi paid a surprise visit to Siachen to celebrate Diwali with soldiers posted at the world’s highest battlefield and hailed the role of the armed forces in securing the country.
He also announced a Rs 570 crore package for Jammu and Kashmir, which had been hit by the worst floods in 100 years the same year.