Praising the armed forces for their role in humanitarian assistance, PM Narendra Modi said the Army had worked unstintingly during the floods in Jammu and Kashmir two years ago without complaining.
Inaugurating Shaurya Samarak, the war memorial at Lal Parade ground in Bhopal, ahead of the BRICS meet in Goa, he recalled the help extended by the Indian Army during the Kashmir floods. “While extending help, my soldiers did not for once think that these are the same people who pelt stones at them,” he said. “It is the call of humanity that inspires our armed forces when they help people during natural disasters. Nothing else matters. When we think of the armed forces, we remember their bravery and also their role during natural disasters,” he said.
Highlighting the role of the army in the rescue-and-relief operations in Yemen, he said that they also rescued a few Pakistanis. “This is an example of the Indian Army’s humane face. We are also one of the biggest contributors to the UN peacekeeping forces,” said Modi.
Addressing a gathering of ex-servicemen, war widows and students, he obliquely referred to the Army action and said, “Our soldiers don’t talk, they just do their acts of bravery. Recently, there were allegations that Modi is sleeping, not doing anything. And like the Army, our defence minister also speaks very little.”
Modi’s support for defence minister Manohar Parrikar is significant as it comes a day after the top party leadership backed him against the charge of politicising the surgical strikes. The PM made it clear through his comparison that he sees Parrikar as a man of action like the Indian troops who conducted the raids across the Line of Control.
Speaking for nearly 45 minutes on the heroism of Indian soldiers, Modi urged civilians to honour and respect soldiers who lay down their lives guarding the borders and ensuring that the country sleeps peacefully at night.