We shall prevail
Our nation faces crises on several fronts and yet, under the leadership of our PM we shall emerge on the other side, stronger and more united in the face of adversity
Home Minister Amit Shah made a very profound and pertinent statement that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, we shall overcome the two 'jungs' of COVID and China and win both battles. Our visionary Prime Minister's leadership in the battle against the unprecedented catastrophe — COVID-19 — has been unflinching, unparalleled and truly inspirational and needs to be emulated by other nations. Apart from the timely anticipatory and preemptive action taken by the Prime Minister, when the first few cases of the Coronavirus were reported from across the world, immediate proactive steps, in union with the states, were taken to enforce the lockdown including strengthening our medical infrastructure as also all other conceivable enforcement, containment, medical, safety and relief measures for the benefit of every section of society. The government measures, along with the indomitable determination and spirit of 130 crore patriotic Indians, enabled the country to promptly and effectively respond and control the situation which would, otherwise, have been unimaginable. In the concerted crusade against this pandemic, PM Modi did not invoke his emergency powers, nor did he resort to authoritarian measures or call in the Indian Army to enforce restrictions, unlike many other countries; he only motivated all Indians who had reposed full faith and wholehearted trust in his leadership.
Having, dexterously, steered the country, victoriously, in the initial stage, PM Modi announced a gradual opening up of the economy, coupled with a 20 lakh crore package and a slew of measures for economic renewal with special emphasis on the MSME sector. At the same time, he also took care of the needs and welfare of the poor and migrants. In his address to the nation on 30 June 2020, he mentioned that the welfare of the poor was his government's topmost priority. The 'Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana', which had been in operation for the last three months has been extended till November end. The 'One nation, one ration card' system shall also be implemented to enable migrants to access the public distribution system anywhere in the country.
During the last three months, the Government strengthened the medical infrastructure. As per the report of DD News, on 29 June 2020, India now has 1,036 COVID-19 dedicated laboratories, 1,055 dedicated COVID hospitals, 2,400 dedicated health centres and 9,519 COVID care centres.
While the world was battling this virus and this was the time when we needed to cooperate to fight this global calamity, China chose to embark on a misadventure in the Galwan Valley which was more than ably thwarted by our valiant soldiers. In his broadcast, during his 'Man Ki Baat', the Prime Minister said "Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladhak have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship ... she is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary without shying away." "Our brave soldiers have proven that they will not let anyone cast an evil eye on the glory of Mother India," said the PM. The previous administration had largely and meekly turned a blind eye to the nefarious nibbling away of our territories through continuous border violations and transgressions by China. While infrastructure on the Chinese side had, during this period, increased by leaps and bounds, there was no such concomitant development on the Indian side. Strengthening infrastructure only became a national priority when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. Today, it is only thanks to his farsightedness that we have created and are still creating a robust network of roads and other infrastructural works, to beef up the security at the border. Hand in hand, our patrols have been actively confronting the PLA in standoffs and have not allowed any incursions and indiscretions from the other side. Our forces have blocked all Chinese designs to encroach upon our territories. The Doklam standoff was certainly a diplomatic victory for India and today China is well aware of India's capability and resolve.
While we are in the process of dealing with COVID-19 and China, under PM Modi, we have already firmly tackled a frustrated Pakistan. It has been only due to PM Modi that we have achieved the abrogation of Article 370 — the greatest achievement since independence. A determined and patriotic Prime Minister took this historical step to rejuvenate India's unity, pride and development. The special status of Article 370 and 35 A had insulated the State from the other parts of India leaving it economically backwards. Immediately after the formation of the UT & J&K, Panchayati Raj institutions were established and made functional and Rs 366 crore was released directly to 4,483 Panchayats. Work on 2,206 languishing projects was started. The process for the creation of 45,000 employment opportunities began. The Government started vigorous road construction works, initiation and acceleration of various power generation and transmission projects, enabling achievement of 100 per cent household electrification, flood management and water supply projects, improved medical infrastructure, setting up of over 330 schools and colleges and a university, beginning of a light rail and public transport system, welfare measures for all including housing, implementation of women and child welfare schemes, disposal of outcome-based grievances, scholarships for the deserving, support to farmers and unorganised workers, expansion of tourism facilities, sports infrastructure and border area development. All these projects and many more, will soon germinate and blossom, in greater proportion and restore full confidence of the people. Finally, terrorism and the miseries of the people will certainly come to an end, despite Pakistan's frustrated efforts to activate its 'deep state' again to heat up the environment, even in the midst of a pandemic. Whether it is the war against COVID-19 or the military and diplomatic preparedness required to tackle those who encroach on our borders and interests, our country shall not be found wanting and, united, we shall prevail. The PM's 'India first' approach shall ensure that we shall prevail, no matter the odds.
The writer is retired Director-General, ITBP. Views expressed are personal