Press Trust of india

Wars fought on borders and within country too: PM

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New Delhi: Hailing the valour of the armed forces during the Kargil war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked people to speak and act keeping in mind the morale of soldiers and asserted that wars are fought not just on borders but on many fronts within the country too.

In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, which coincided with the 21st anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas, the prime minister also hit out at Pakistan for the conflict and said Islamabad responded to New Delhi’s hand of friendship by stabbing it in the back.

The Kargil war was declared over on July 26, 1999 after Indian soldiers pushed back Pakistani troops, a bulk of them drawn from the neighbouring country’s Northern Light Infantry, from the captured peaks in Kargil.

People must remember that their conduct and remarks should boost the morale and respect of soldiers, Modi said, urging everyone to do everything to further national unity.

“People bound by a thread of unity with the mantra that the nation is above everything else bolster the strength of our soldiers more than a thousand times,” he said.

Modi also spoke of the dangers of social media. At times, without paying heed to the essence, people encourage certain things on social media “that are detrimental to the country”, he said.

“There are times when we forward things out of sheer curiosity. Despite knowing that it is wrong, we keep doing it. These days, wars are fought not just on borders, they are fought on many fronts simultaneously within the country too.

“And every citizen has to decide his or her role in that. We, too, should determine our roles, fully keeping in mind the soldiers fighting on the borders under the harshest of conditions,” he said.

The prime minister’s comments come as Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a standoff in Ladakh.

Modi recalled the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Independence Day speech after the Kargil war and said it is relevant even today.

Vajpayee, he said, had then reminded the nation of Gandhi’s mantra — in the face of any dilemma, in order to decide what to do or what not to do, one must think of the poorest and the most helpless person of India; one must assess whether one’s deed will result in benefitting that particular person or not.

“Going beyond Gandhi-ji’s thought, Atal-ji had said the Kargil war has given us another mantra. Before taking any important decision, we should think whether our step, our endeavour is befitting to the honour of the soldier who laid down his life in those remote mountains,” the prime minister said as he played out a brief clip of Vajpayee’s speech.

India can never forget the circumstances under which the conflict took place, he stressed.

“Pakistan had embarked upon this misadventure, nursing delusions of encroaching upon Indian soil, to distract attention from the internal strife prevailing there. India was then in the process of making efforts to foster good relations with Pakistan,” he said.

Modi also said when India extended a hand of friendship, Pakistan tried to respond, “stabbing in the back”.

In an indirect warning to China, without naming it, PM Modi said it is in some people’s nature to keep becoming enemies.

‘Threat of coronavirus far from over’

New Delhi: India’s COVID-19 recovery rate is better compared to other countries and its case fatality rate is much less as well, but the threat of the deadly virus is far from over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, he also said that at many places, the virus is spreading fast and people need to be extra vigilant.

“The threat of the coronavirus is far from being over. At many places, it is spreading fast. We need to be extra vigilant. We have to bear in mind that the coronavirus is as fatal today as it was in the beginning. That is why we have to be fully cautious,” Modi said.

He said amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, India’s rural regions came up as beacons of guidance for the entire country.

Many examples of effective endeavours on part of local residents of villages and gram panchayats are coming to the fore, Modi said, giving the example of people who came forward to help others amid the health crisis.

“Over the last few months, the way the country fought against the coronavirus unitedly has proved many apprehensions wrong. Today, the recovery rate in our country is better compared to other countries. The mortality rate in the context of COVID-19 in our country is much less as well, compared to most countries,” the prime minister said.

“Of course, the loss of even one life is saddening, but India has also succeeded in saving the lives of lakhs of people,” Modi said.

Wearing a face mask, using a ‘gamchcha’ or a cloth to cover the face, two yards of distancing, frequently washing hands, avoiding spitting in public places and taking full care of hygiene and sanitation are our weapons to protect ourselves from the virus, he noted.

There are times, Modi said, when masks cause inconvenience and one feels like removing it, especially during a conversation.

“When a mask is required the most, we tend to remove it. At such times, I urge you that whenever you feel your mask is bothersome and you want to remove it, spare a thought for those doctors, nurses. You will find them wearing masks for hours together, diligently working to save our lives … sometimes wearing masks for a span of eight to 10 hours. Doesn’t that discomfort them? Just think about them,” he said.

Once people think of ‘Corona Warriors’, they too will feel that as citizens, neither they should be negligent nor let others be so, the prime minister said.

“On the one hand, we have to fight the battle against the coronavirus with full awareness and on the other, whatever our responsibilities, through sheer perseverance … business, jobs or studies … we have to lend pace to it, taking it to greater heights,” Modi said.

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