The Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has paid homage to the 20 Indian soldiers who died in the Galwan incident during his address to the joint session of the Indian Parliament.
Pointing out to the “efforts made to disrupt the peace at LAC” which was done with “utter disregard of bilateral relations and agreements” the President said, “twenty of our jawans made the supreme sacrifice and laid down their lives defending the country at Galwan Valley. Every citizen is deeply indebted to these martyrs.”
In June of last year, the Chinese forces, in an act of aggression, tried to occupy the Galwan valley. During the act, while India lost 20 of its soldiers, China also suffered casualties but never came up with figures.
The incident was a major setback to ties between the 2 countries, and since then despite multiple rounds of talks, China has refused to disengage from the region. “Our security forces not only responded with promptitude, force and courage, but also foiled all attempts to change the status quo at the border and the restraint, valor and courage displayed by our jawans, deserve utmost praise,” he said.
The soldiers who died were honored with gallantry awards posthumously earlier this week. The commanding officer of 16 Bihar regiment, Late Colonel B Santosh Babu was honored with Mahar Vir Chakra, the 2nd highest military award, while other soldiers who died were honored with Vir Chakras, Sena Medals.
The President in the address which marks the beginning of the Budget session of the Parliament said, “My Government is vigilant and fully committed to safeguarding the interests of the country” and “additional forces have also been deployed at the LAC to protect the sovereignty of India.”
The President’s speech is an important tradition of the Indian Parliament and is a policy statement of the government. The address saw President Kovind mentioning India’s COVID-19 vaccine out-reach, BRICS presidency this year, and 2-year term at the United Nations Security Council.
“Living up to the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam’, India has, in addition to fulfilling its domestic requirements, supplied essential medicines to more than 150 countries. India is committed to ensuring the availability of vaccine at the global level,” he said.
India’s mega repatriation mission–Vande Bharat Mission’ and diplomacy amid the COVID-19 crisis was also mentioned.
“It is a matter of pride for the country that ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, which is the biggest mission of its kind organized anywhere in the world, is being hailed universally,” the President elaboratd.
“During this period, India has further bolstered international cooperation by holding a large number of apex summits, multilateral events and official meetings,” he added.
Under the mission, about 50 lakh Indians were brought back from various parts of the world and more than 1 lakh foreign nationals were sent to their respective countries.
During the pandemic, the Indian PM had virtual summits with several countries–Australia, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh etc, and the External Affairs Minister also had such meetings with his many counterparts.
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