Two weeks after the Sino-Indian conflict over the Galwan Valley, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Ladakh to meet with members of the army guarding the border.
Modi arrived in Ladakh early on Friday, local time, according to a statement from his office.
The Indian media has also confirmed that the Prime Minister’s helicopter landed at the Forward Landing Ground Nimu near Leh and the border in Ladakh.
Modi will be accompanied by India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravan, Reuters reported.
According to various sources, both sides used stones, rods and sticks in the clashes in Galwan in mid-June. New Delhi has confirmed that 20 Indian soldiers were killed and six others were injured in the clashes. Beijing did not report any casualties.
After five decades of bloody clashes over the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the military commanders of the two nuclear-armed countries have met time and time again, but the border has not calmed down.
International media reports also said that both countries are increasing their power around Ladakh.
On Friday, Modi visited various border posts of the LAC and talked to the jawans, Anandabazar said.
According to media reports, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh was scheduled to visit Ladakh on Thursday but was canceled at the last minute.
Though there are various speculations as to why Rajnath’s visit was canceled, there is no hint that the Prime Minister himself is going to ‘boost the morale’ of the troops at the border the next day.
Although it was initially speculated that the PM’s visit was not announced for security reasons, many observers see Modi’s surprise visit to Ladakh as a ‘big message for China’.
The Indian prime minister is not usually seen going to the border checkpoints unless the situation is very serious or a big step is taken, they say.
Modi remarked at an event last week that India had given “appropriate response” to China in the June 15 clashes.
“Those who have dared to look at Indian territory in Ladakh have been given a worthy answer. “Just as India knows how to have friendships, we know how to deal with and respond to anyone,” he said.