Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India will give a befitting reply to those who try to hurt its interests, ANI reported. He make the remark during his address at the Longewala post in Rajasthan, where he arrived in the morning to celebrate Diwali with the soldiers.

“Today the strategy of India is clear,” Modi was quoted as saying by the news agency. “Today’s India believes in the policy of understanding and making others understand. But if attempts are made to test us, the reply they receive is intense.”

The prime minister said that India will not compromise its interests at any cost. “Today India kills terrorists and their leaders by entering their homes,” he said. “The world now understands that this nation won’t compromise with its interests, not at any cost.”

The prime minister saluted the soldiers for their service to the nation. He said he considered them to be “his own, his family”. Modi’s remarks came a day after four Indian Army soldiers and a Border Security Force sub inspector were killed in alleged ceasefire violation by Pakistan. Six civilians also lost their lives in the shelling.

Without naming China, Modi said the whole world today was troubled by expansionist forces. “Expansionism is, in a way, a mental disorder and reflects 18th Century thinking,” he added. “India is also becoming a strong voice against this thinking.”

The prime minister had followed the tradition to celebrate Diwali with the soldiers since 2014, Hindustan Times reported.

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Army Chief MM Narvane, Border Security Force Director General Rakesh Asthana were also part of the celebration, according to ANI.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister extended Diwali wishes to the people. “May this festival further brightness and happiness, he tweeted. “May everyone be prosperous and healthy.”

On Friday, Modi had asked the people to light diyas as a tribute to the armed forces. “This Diwali, let us also light a Diya as a salute to soldiers who fearlessly protect our nation,” he said. “Words can’t do justice to the sense of gratitude we have for our soldiers for their exemplary courage. We are also grateful to the families of those on the borders.”

In 2019, the prime minister had visited Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district to celebrate Diwali with Indian Army soldiers. This was Modi’s first visit to the state since his government revoked its special constitutional status by hollowing out Article 370 of Constitution, and imposed restrictions on public movement and a communications blockade.