Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning flew to Leh, Ladakh – the first time after the violent faceoff with Chinese troopers on June 15. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army chief MM Naravane accompanied the prime minister as he spoke to the Indian troops.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi was at a forward location in Nimu. He will review the on-ground security situation even as military-level talks are going on with the Chinese side. The prime minister is also likely to meet the injured soldiers at the military hospital, reported News18. Modi will return to Delhi on Friday itself.
The decision for Modi to visit Ladakh was taken on Thursday evening, reported Hindustan Times. The visit is being looked at as a big morale booster for the Indian troops deployed in east Ladakh.
On June 28, Modi had said that India gave a befitting reply to those who eyed its territory in Ladakh. The prime minister praised soldiers for their brave fight in the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese forces. “If India knows how to honour friendships, it also knows how to look someone in the eye and confront them,” the prime minister had said in an apparent reference to China during his monthly “Mann ki Baat” radio programme. “Our brave soldiers have shown that they will let anyone hurt the nation’s honour.”
Tensions have heightened between New Delhi and Beijing following a violent clash between soldiers of the two countries on June 15 in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, that led to the death of 20 Indian jawans and injuries to 76 personnel.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that it hopes China will ensure “expeditious restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas”, and honour bilateral commitments, in a bid to deescalate tensions. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told the media in a briefing that the Indian and Chinese sides have been engaged in meetings at both military and diplomatic levels, to address the situation along the Line of Actual Control. He said that senior commanders of the two sides have met thrice so far – on June 6, June 22 and June 30. Srivastava said a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs was held on June 24.
On June 29, India banned 59 apps, including TikTok, WeChat and Cam Scanner, alleging that they presented a security threat to the country. China has claimed that India’s ban on these apps was a violation of World Trade Organization rules. Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng told reporters that Beijing hopes New Delhi would correct its “discriminatory actions” against Chinese companies immediately.