PM Modi lauds Indian soldiers' humanitarian efforts
Be it the Uttarakhand floods of 2013 or the Kashmir floods of 2014, the Indian Army did a commendable job in saving thousands of lives, Modi said here.
"In Kashmir, our soldiers rescued -- and provided humanitarian aid to -- thousands of people without giving a thought that these are the same people who throw stones at the Indian forces," he said.
"Sometimes these stones can be fatal. But despite that, our soldiers did not go into who did what to them in the past. They just saved the lives of their fellow countrymen," the Prime Minister said.
He reminded the audience that the uniformed men armed with weapons also had a humane face.
"The first image of a soldier may be that of a uniformed person with bloodshot eyes, carrying weapons and looking for enemies, but the same soldier has a very humane face too," Modi said.
He said the Indian Army may not be the strongest in the world, but it certainly is on the top on the parameters of humanity, discipline, conduct and behaviour with civilians.
Speaking on humanitarian activities undertaken by the Indian soldiers across the globe, the Prime Minister said: "Terrorism in west Asia has taken an ugly shape. Thousands of Indians were stranded in Yemen and their lives were hanging between life and death. Our armed forces brought out more than 5,000 Indians and many foreigners, including Pakistan's citizens, safely out of Yemen."
"The Indian forces never hesitated in giving their lives for the sake of humanity. In both the World Wars, more than one and a half lakh Indians soldiers died. The world is forgetting the sacrifices of our jawans; unfortunately, we also forget it some times," he added.
Modi said high morale is the biggest weapon of any army, which comes from the backing of 125 crore Indians. "Our army doesn't talk but displays valour."
Touching on the 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) issue and anomalies in the seventh Pay Commission, the Prime Minister said: "For the last many decades, the armed forces are demanding OROP. Previous governments in very sophisticated words have been promising the armed forces fulfilment of their demand for OROP. We fulfilled that demand."
He said till date, Rs 5,500 crore had been disbursed in instalments in this regard.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the army will never "forgive" the country if it is found "sleeping" when it should be awake, in comments that come against the backdrop of the recent surgical strikes.
He asserted that the army does not believe in speaking but in displaying its valour.
"Our army is happiest when we sleep in peace. They have no complaint. But they will never forgive us if we sleep when we should be awake. Unfortunately, we have been found sleeping when we should have been awake.
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. We have to keep alert always. It will be injustice to the army if we sleep away when we have to be awake," he said without elaborating.
Addressing ex-servicemen and their families at the inauguration of 'Shaurya Smarak' (memorial to valour) here, he devoted his speech hailing the role of armed forces and their spirit of sacrifice in adverse situation.
"Our army does not speak but displays its valour. When I would say this earlier, they (critics) would tear my hair out.
They would say Modi is sleeping and doing nothing. Like our army which does not speak but displays its valour, our Defence Minister also does not speak..." he said with a pause as the audience broke into applause with some raising patriotic slogans.
Modi said the ancestors in hundreds of years of India's history never waged a war to capture a country.
"But if it comes to fighting for values and ideals, India is never found wanting," he said.
Lauding the valour and humaneness of armed forces, he referred to their relief and rescue operations in Srinagar during the floods two years ago despite the violence they face from the stone-pelting mobs.
"When massive floods hit Srinagar two years ago, the government found it difficult to deal with the situation and the country saw that our jawans were toiling to save people's lives.