Congratulating the Indian Army soldiers for bringing India to “a respectful juncture” after a long journey that witnessed “martyrdom of brave hearts”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to 1965 war memorials in Amritsar and Ferozepur on Wednesday.
“It was apparently for the first time that a prime minister visited Barki memorial in our district (Ferozepur),” said D P S Kharbanda, the deputy commissioner.
He said the district administration did not have prior knowledge about the PM’s visit, and learnt about it only after the PM landed there.
The Barki memorial came into existence in 1969, four years after the soldiers fought the ‘Battle of Barki’ (September 6-10, 1965).
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“Just laid a wreath & paid my respects at Barki War Memorial in Ferozepur, Punjab, which marks the fall of Barki town on Sep 11 in 1965 war,” the PM said in a tweet.
Modi, along with Army chief Dalbir Singh, also laid wreaths at the Dograi War Memorial at Khasa, tomb of Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid and Asal Uttar Memorial.
“During this battle CQMH Abdul Hamid (a Param Vir Chakra recipient) single handedly destroyed 3 enemy tanks & helped stop their offensive, in spite of being mortally wounded. Our forces captured/destroyed over 90 enemy tanks by the end of the Battle of Asal Uttar,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
For the second consecutive year, the PM celebrated Diwali with the soldiers.
“Last year I spent Diwali with our brave soldiers at Siachen. This year I wanted to pay tribute to martyrs of 1965 war. I wanted to visit the places which our soldiers nurtured with their blood and thus I decided to tour the border areas,” the PM said.
“People celebrate Diwali with their families, today I am here to do the same. Today I am here to celebrate Diwali with my family and that is our Indian Qrmy. Be it Air Force, Navy or Army – all of them have made us extremely proud time and again,” the PM said in his address.
He also said that Army veterans protested recently for One Rank One Pension (OROP), his government has ensured that a “foolproof” plan was implemented.
“There are absolutely no shortcomings in OROP which we would be implementing.”
Modi, who landed in Amritsar around 10.30 am, also visited Halwara and Pathankot air force base which had similarly witnessed substantial movements during the war.
“I am extremely lucky to get an opportunity to visit and meet those Army warriors who have come a long way. I am proud to say that it is the high character and moral values of Indian army which has taken India to such heights that the world looks at us with respect. On Diwali, I congratulate those brave hearts,” Modi said.