Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an hour-long surprise visit to Amritsar’s Khasa cantonment around noon on Wednesday and paid homage at the 1965 Dograi war memorial before spending time with soldiers on Diwali.
“I have come here to celebrate Diwali with my family (army jawans). After becoming the Prime Minister, I got the opportunity to visit Siachen and celebrate Diwali with jawans there (last year),” Modi said after laying a wreath at the spot, which saw one of the fiercest battles fought against Pakistan and won by Indian forces on September 22, 1965.
The visit came in the backdrop of the golden jubilee of India’s victory in the 1965 war.
“I have seen the great contribution by the uniform. The armed forces of our nation have played a great role in all important battles. It’s because of their valour, dedication and dreams that the whole world looks at India with respect. It is not only because of the uniform but the character of the armed forces,” Modi, who was sporting an army cap, said in his address to the soldiers.
Accompanied by army chief Gen Dalbir Singh, Modi arrived in a helicopter that landed in the cantonment. The civil administration, including the police, and the media were not aware of the PM’s plans till he landed.
Modi left in the chopper after an hour but did not visit the Golden Temple, where security is already tight in view of the Sikh hardliners’ decision to march to the shrine amid the Panthic crisis.
He also laid a wreath at the Asal Uttar Memorial near Valtoha in Tarn Taran and at the tomb of company quartermaster havildar Abdul Hamid, a Param Vir Chakra recipient. Modi mentioned the bravery of Hamid who played a pivotal role in the battle and destroyed enemy tanks during the 1965 war.
The Dograi War Memorial is dedicated to the Battle of Dograi fought on the Indo-Pak border in 1965. The Jats under the inspiring leadership of Lt Col Desmond Hayde achieved a superb victory against overwhelming odds. For his undaunted leadership and bravery, Lt Col Hayde was awarded Maha Vir Chakra.
Lt Gen KJ Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, and Lt Gen JS Cheema, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Corps, were present during the visit.
Modi pays tributes to martyrs at Ferozepur
Ferozepur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by Gen Dalbir Singh, visited the area under the Vajra Corps, the Land of Martyrs, here on Wednesday to pay tributes to martyrs on the completion of 50 years of the country’s victory over Pakistan in the 1965 war.
It was on this land of the Vajra Corps where major and decisive battles of the 1965 war were fought and the corps earned the name of ‘Defenders of Punjab’. Modi and Gen Dalbir Singh laid wreaths at the Barki War Memorial at Ferozepur, the Dograi War Memorial at Khasa and CQMH Abdul Hamid War Memorial at Asal Uttar and paid homage to the soldiers of the Vajra Corps, who laid down their lives defending the nation.
The Prime Minister interacted with all ranks in the forward areas of the corps, conveyed best wishes and distributed sweets on Diwali. He exhorted them to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation and emulate the martyrs who had brought glory to the nation.
The Prime Minister also interacted with the air force personnel at Halwara and Pathankot.