Taking an apparent dig at China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the age of expansionism is over and added that the new age of development is here.
"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," Modi said addressing soldiers in Ladakh's Nimmoo. However, the Prime Minister did not mention China at all in his address to the soldiers.
The remark comes amidst the ongoing tension between India and China at Line of Actual Control in the eastern Ladakh. In a violent face-off 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley on June 15-16 when Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation.
The Prime Minister also said that the people of Ladakh have rejected every attempt to create separatism in the region.
"Ladakh is the head of the country. This is the symbol of pride for the 130 crore citizens of India. This land belongs to the people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the country... Every attempt to create separatism in the region was rejected by the nationalist people of Ladakh," Modi said.
He also said: "We are the same people who pray to the flute playing Lord Krishna, but we are also the same people who idealise and following the same Lord Krishna who carries the Sudarshan Chakra."
The two countries -- India and China -- have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month.
Lauding the bravery displayed by the soldiers, the Prime Minister said: "The bravery that you and your compatriots showed, a message has gone to the world about India's strength."
"Your courage is higher than the heights where you are posted today," he added.
"Atmanirbhar Bharat ka sankalp aapke tyag, balidan, pursharth ke karan aur bhi mazbut hai,"(The determination of self-reliant India gets strengthened from your sacrifice and courage)," the Prime Minister said.
The soldiers were observed maintaining social distancing while PM Modi's address here. PM Modi on Friday made a surprise visit to Ladakh and was briefed by senior officers at Nimmoo amid ongoing tension with China.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane. He reached Nimmoo, early morning today and interacted with Army, Air Force and ITBP personnel.Located at 11,000 feet, this is among the tough terrains, surrounded by Zanskar range and on the banks of the Indus.Sources had earlier informed about CDS Rawat's visit to Leh today.
General Rawat's visit holds importance since it comes in the wake of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Ladakh being rescheduled.Earlier, the Defence Minister was scheduled to visit Ladakh today to review the preparedness of the army amid the ongoing standoff with China.
The situation at the India-China border remains tense after 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in a violent face-off in the Galwan valley on June 15-16 when Chinese troops attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation. India and China have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month.