Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday adopted a confident tone on national security issues as he spoke to soldiers in Jaisalmer. Modi was at Longewala in Jaisalmer to celebrate Diwali with men of the armed forces, a custom he started since becoming prime minister.

Modi was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Today India kills terrorists and their leaders by entering their homes. World now understands that this nation won’t compromise with its interests, not at any cost. This repute and stature of India is all due to your [armed forces’] strength and valour.”

Emphasising his attachment to the armed forces, Modi said, “You may be at the snow-capped mountains or in deserts, my Diwali is complete only when I come amid you. My happiness doubles when I look at the joy on your faces.”

Modi was quoted by ANI as saying, “130 crore Indians are standing with you. Every Indian is proud of the strength and valour of our soldiers. They are proud of your invincibility. No power in the world can stop our brave soldiers from guarding the borders of our country.”

Without explicitly mentioning China, Modi emphasised that territorial expansionism was a “mental disorder”. Modi said, “Today the whole world is troubled by expansionist forces. Expansionism is, in a way, a mental disorder and reflects 18th-century thinking. India is also becoming a strong voice against this thinking.”

Alluding to the standoff with China in Ladakh, Modi said, “Today the strategy of India is clear. 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.”