‘We believe in peace but not at the cost of self-respect’
JAMMU, Sept 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy atmosphere of peace and progress in the country and even as India is committed to peace and taking it forward, it will not be done at the cost of compromising our self-respect and nation’s sovereignty.
In his monthly address ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Radio, the Prime Minister was today all praise for Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy and lauded their courage and bravery at difficult times including surgical strikes, 1947 and two wars with Pakistan, Kargil war etc.
Without directly naming Pakistan or militants, Modi said: “It has now been decided that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy atmosphere of peace and progress in the country. We staunchly believe in peace and are committed to taking it forward but not at the cost of compromising our self-respect and sovereignty of the nation”.
Asserting that India never eyed someone else’s territory maliciously, he said India has always been resolutely committed to peace. “In the two world wars fought in the 20th century, over a lakh of our soldiers made the supreme sacrifice and that too in a war where we were not involved in any way. This in itself was our commitment and dedication towards peace,” he added.
The Prime Minister pointed out that even today; India is one of the largest contributors to various United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in terms of sending forces personnel. For decades, our brave soldiers wearing blue helmets have played a stellar role in ensuring maintenance of world peace, he asserted.
Modi said citizens of the country especially the younger generation should know how capable our Army is and how our soldiers risk their lives to protect the people.
“A day such as Paraakaram Parva reminds our youth of glorious heritage of the Army. It also inspires us to maintain unity and integrity of the country,” the Prime Minister said and mentioned that he also attended a similar programme at Jodhpur (in Rajasthan) a day before.
He said there must be hardly any Indian, whose doesn’t feel proud of our armed forces, our Army jawans, our soldiers. Every Indian, irrespective of region, caste, religion, sect or language, is ever eager to express joy and show solidarity with our soldiers, he added.
Showering praises on Indian Air Force, Modi said when Pakistani attackers resorted to unprecedented attack and tried to capture Kashmir in 1947, it was indeed our Air Force which transported men and material to Srinagar promptly.
“The Air Force retaliated befittingly in 1965 too. Who does not know about the Bangladesh Freedom Struggle of 1971? The Air Force played a very significant role in 1999 by pushing back the intruders and liberating Kargil from their clutches. The Air Force defeated the enemy at Tiger Hill by carrying out air sorties on their positions round the clock. Be it the relief and rescue work or disaster management, our country is indebted to our Air Force for the commendable efforts of our Air Warrior. They have always displayed a unique spirit in times of natural calamities like storms, cyclones, floods and forest fires to extend full assistance to our countrymen,” he said.
Turning to Navy, Modi said a few days ago, Navy Officer Abhilash Tomy was struggling between life and death.
“The whole country was concerned about saving Tomy. You know, Tomy is a very courageous, brave soldier. He was the first Indian who set on a global voyage in a small boat without any modern technology. For the last 80 days, he was moving ahead in South Indian Ocean to participate in the Golden Globe Race maintaining his speed but suddenly a severe cyclonic storm landed him in trouble. Yet, this brave heart from the Navy kept struggling for many days in mid-ocean. He fought to be afloat without food or drink. He did not accept defeat and continued to fight death.
“A rare example of courage, determination, strength and bravery – a few days ago I talked to Abhilash over the telephone after he was rescued and brought safely on ground. I had met Tomy earlier too despite having faced such a tough situation; his grit & spirit, his determination to make another similar attempt is an inspiration for our younger generation. I pray for Tomy’s sound health and I am sure that his courage, bravery and resolve to fight and emerge a winner will inspire our younger generation,” he added.
Modi stressed the importance of human rights and inculcating them into practice, saying it is the very basis of his Government’s ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ principle.
He made these remarks while referring to the role of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which completes 25 years next month.
“As a society, we need to understand the importance of human rights and inculcate them into practice — this is the very basis of ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ (collective efforts, inclusive growth),” he said.
Modi said many provisions were inserted in the Constitution to protect the fundamental rights of the poor and inspired by it, the NHRC was formed on October 12, 1993.
“The NHRC has not only protected human rights but has also promoted respect for human dignity over the years,” he said and recalled late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words that human rights are not an alien concept for us.
He said the human rights watchdog has instilled widespread awareness about human rights and has played an important role in preventing their misuse.
“In its journey of 25 years, it has created an atmosphere of hope and confidence in the countrymen. For a healthy society and for lofty democratic values I feel that, it is a very hope inspiring event,” the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that 26 State Human Rights Commissions have also been constituted.
‘We believe in peace but not at the cost of self-respect’