Soldiers' commitment stronger than freezing temperatures: Rajnath Singh

Singh lauds soldiers for their bravery in extreme conditions, acknowledges Ladakh as India's capital of courage.

Update: 2024-03-24 17:52 GMT
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh celebrates Holi festival with Armed Forces personnel, in Leh, on Sunday. (Image: PTI)

Srinagar: Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, on Sunday hailed the grit and determination of the Indian soldiers defending the country’s borders and asserted that their commitment is stronger than the freezing temperatures in which many of them are carrying out their duties.

“The positive commitment of our jawans posted in high altitudes is much stronger than subzero temperatures”, he said while addressing the soldiers in Leh. The Defence Minister, who was accompanied by the Army Chief General Manoj Pande and General Officer Commanding, Fire and Fury Corps Lt Gen Rashim Bali, celebrated Holi with the Army jawans in Ladakh’s main town. He said that he decided to celebrate Holi with the soldiers a day before, as he believed that the festivals should first be celebrated by and with the protectors of the country.

The Defence Minister urged the chiefs of the three services to establish a new tradition of beginning the celebrations of the festivals with the soldiers a day before. “Such celebrations with soldiers on the snowy peaks of Kargil, in the scorching plains of Rajasthan and in the submarines located in the deep seas should become an integral part of our culture,” he said.

Mr. Singh later posted pictures showing him celebrating the Holi with the Army jawans and officers at Leh on microblogging site ‘X’ and said, “Delighted to celebrate Holi with the soldiers of Indian Armed Forces in Leh, Ladakh”.

Mr. Singh had planned to celebrate the festival of colours commemorating the love and devotion between Lord Krishna and Radha with the Indian soldiers guarding Siachen Glacier, the coldest army base of the world at an elevation of 21,000 ft (6,400 m) above the sea level and often referred to as the world's highest battlefield, but he could go there due to the inclement weather.

“I wanted to celebrate the festival of colours with our brace jawans in the Siachen area, but bad weather came in the way,” he said. He, however, spoke with the soldiers posted in the Siachen area over the phone and extended the Holi greetings to them. He promised them that he would visit them at the first available opportunity. “I promise I will soon visit Siachen and meet our jawans who are bearing the brunt of bone chilling cold in their resolve to protect the nation,” he said.

In his address to the Army jawans and officers in Leh, the Defence Minister said that India continues to progress in spite of some untoward incidents taking place on its borders at times. “Our borders are vast and spread in all directions. Some untoward incidents do take place here and there, but we are progressing and leading a happy life because our vigilant soldiers stand guard ceaselessly at our borders,” he said. He added, “Every citizen is proud of the armed forces as they live far away from their families so that we celebrate Holi and other festivals with our families peacefully. The nation will forever be indebted to our soldiers, and their courage and sacrifices will keep inspiring the future generations.”

He termed Ladakh as India’s capital of valour and bravery just as Delhi is the national capital, Mumbai is the financial capital and Bengaluru is the technology capital.

The Defence Minister asserted that India is touching new heights in development as schools, hospitals, industries, business arcades, temples and mosques are flourishing. “This all became possible when you are protecting our borders in harsh terrain and hostile weather here and elsewhere with valour, determination and sacrifice. The countrymen sleep without fear because of you,” Mr. Singh said.

He assured the soldiers that the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “is committed to take care of families and children of soldiers”.

On the occasion, Shri Rajnath Singh also laid a wreath at the War Memorial, Leh as a mark of solemn tribute to the Bravehearts who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.



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