At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in deadly clash with China last month
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise to Ladakh border region where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a deadly clash with Chinese security forces.
The visit is seen by the observers as an attempt by the sheepish Modi to boost the morale of his military after China beating.
The incident in the Galwan Valley saw scores of Indian troops killed and was the first time in 45 years that soldiers had died in combat on the Asian giants’ long-disputed Himalayan border.
Modi toured a military base at Nimoo in Ladakh, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) as the crow flies from the site of the June 15 battle.
Without naming China in his address to the soldiers, the Indian PM said: "The age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back."
Those who laid down their lives for the country belonged to all parts of India and epitomised its ethos of bravery, the NDTV quoted him as saying.
"Every single Indian across the world, especially in India, has the belief that you all can deliver and keep the nation strong and safe. Your courage is higher than the heights where you are stationed. Your arms are as strong as the mountains that surround you. Your confidence, determination and belief are as atal (immovable) as the peaks here."
The head of India’s military and the army chief also joined the visit to the sensitive area, which has been used as a staging post to build up troop numbers in the region.
Both sides have blamed each other for the incident and since sent thousands of extra troops to the region.
They have held several rounds of military-level talks and said they want a negotiated settlement but have made little apparent progress.
India has also attempted to turn the screws on China economically, this week banning 59 Chinese mobile phone apps including the popular TikTok citing national security concerns.
With anti-China sentiment on the rise locally, Chinese imports including raw materials vital to India’s pharmaceutical industry have reportedly been piling up at Indian ports due to more stringent border checks.