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SOURCE: TNN

In an acknowledgement of Indian troops claiming the heights on the south bank of Pangong lake in late August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated the action gained the country crucial bargaining leverage in the confrontation with China.

Though the PM did not name China, his reference in his Diwali day speech to manoeuvres carried out by the Indian army on August 29-30 were clear even as he said all actions will be taken to secure the borders.

In what can also be seen as a rejection of the Chinese insistence for stalling upgradation of border infrastructure and stopping of patrolling at points on LAC which it has unilaterally declared its own territory, Modi said no power can stop our “brave jawans from protecting our frontiers”.

In his speech at Longewala Post in Rajasthan on Diwali on Saturday, he said India will deliver a fierce reply if provoked. “The world today knows that we will not compromise our interests,” Modi said. At a time when Pakistan had increased ceasefire violations, reminding India of the “collusive” threat from Pakistan and China, the PM did not spare the western neighbour, saying sponsors of terror have been hit in their homes.

India has shown to the world that it has the prowess and required political will to give a befitting reply to security challenges. “Our military might has today strengthened our negotiating hand several times. Our hand is stronger because of the sacrifices (of Indian military) and because of their will power,” he said.

Modi’s comments made it clear that India was in no mood to get its troops off the strategic heights until it was satisfied that the generous offer of the Chinese to go far as back as Finger 8 was not a ploy to lull India into complacency.

Modi did not name China, but few doubts remained as to who he had in his crosshairs when he attacked expansionist forces, the description that he used when addressing the troops at Nemo after the Galwan clash. “The whole world is troubled suffering because of expansionism. Expansionism is a mental perversion and reflects 18th century thought. India has become a bold voice against this(expansionist) thought,” he said.

The PM who was at the Longewal post — site of the famous tank battle in 1971 when heavily outnumbered Indian soldiers led by Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri defeated Pakistan — said the victory was significant. “Pakistan was defeated in the battle of Longowal. They had made an attempt to divert attention away from the genocidal attack on the people of Bangladesh. Their evil intent was ground to dust,” he said.