New Delhi: Lauding the bravery of Indian soldiers during the Galwan Valley clash in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a strong signal to China in his Independence Day speech Saturday when he said “LoC to LAC”, the Army had given a befitting reply to attempts of transgressions. He also said India is now following a new approach to the neighbourhood policy.
“From LoC (Line of Control with Pakistan) to LAC (Line of Actual Control with China), anyone who has raised eyes on the sovereignty of the country, the country, the Army of the country has responded to it in the same language,” he said during his second Independence Speech in his second tenure as prime minister.
Without naming China, the PM said, “Respect for India’s sovereignty is supreme for us. What our brave soldiers can do for this resolution, what the country can do, the world has seen this in Ladakh.”
On the country’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, Modi said today India considers not only those countries as its neighbours with whom it shares its borders but also those with whom New Delhi has “partnership of security, development and trust”.
“We are connecting our relations with our neighbours, whether they are connected to us on land or from the sea, with the partnership of security, development and trust,” he said.
“Today, the neighbours are not only those who meet our geographical boundaries but also those who meet our hearts. Where there is harmony in relationships, there is harmony,” he added, saying these are those countries who had helped India and also Indians living in their countries during the corona crisis.
Friction and friendly ties with neighbours
The comment comes at a time India and Pakistan have completely stopped talking to each other. Earlier this month, Pakistan issued a new map, which included the entire Jammu & Kashmir region and parts of Gujarat in its territories. India had dismissed this as “ridiculous”.
While Bangladesh is upset with some of the decisions taken by the government on the Citizenship Amendment Act, Nepal had in May claimed about 335 square kilometres of the entire Kalapani region as its own — an area that has been recognised as a disputed by both Kathmandu as well as New Delhi, by issuing its new political map.
During his speech, Prime Minister Modi also spoke about progress and development of South Asia at a time when the process of SAARC is in doldrums due to the tensions between India and Pakistan.
“One-fourth of the world’s population lives in South Asia. We can create untold possibilities of development and prosperity of such a large population with cooperation and participation. All the leaders of the countries of the region have an important responsibility towards the development and progress of this huge mass group,” he said.
Modi also called the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as India’s “maritime neighbours”. This is significant in terms of sending a message to China with which China has issues on the South China Sea.
“Similarly, our former ASEAN countries, which are also our maritime neighbours, also hold very special importance for us. India has a thousand-year-old religious and cultural relationship with them. Traditions of Buddhism also connect us to them,” he said.
He said while India continues to remain a peaceful nation, it continues to give utmost priority to the country’s security by having “strong army”.
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