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PM visit a morale booster for forces: Experts on Modi's sudden Ladakh trip

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NEW DELHI:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Ladakh amid the ongoing border tension along the LAC may have thrown everyone off guard, but experts feel the move was the need of the hour and will help boost the country’s morale.

“With this visit, the PM has sent a good signal and sent out four messages, apart from showing that he is leading from the front. It demonstrates our resolve to China. Secondly, it gives a message to the armed forces that he supports them for their professional performance. This was further underlined by meeting the soldiers injured in the Galwan Valley clash. Third is the message to the people of India that we are up to it and facing the Chinese. Fourth is the message to the world that China cannot browbeat us, we stand firm and we will resolve the matter without third party,” Lt-Gen (Retd) Vinod Bhatia, former DG, Military Operations, said.

B R Deepak, Sinologist and chairperson of the Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), feels the visit also helps the PM take stock of the situation on the ground. 

“It is meant to take stock of ground realities along the border in Eastern Ladakh in terms of deployment of forces, equipment and logistics on the one hand and conveying to China that India will never accept the change of status quo along the LAC and China shifting its own coordinates at the border further west on the other. To the world, India is demonstrating that it will stand up to China, if challenged,” he said.

Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retd), former chief of the Northern Command, echoed Deepak’s views.

“It is a good step. Since two months, there was no move forward, no de-escalation or disengagement. So, some message was needed to be sent out that we are serious about it,” he said.

A former diplomat, who did not wish to be named, said the PM’s visit was a morale booster for the forces and also acted as an assurance that the country was with them. 

“Apart from being a morale booster, the timing of his visit, which coincided with India’s diplomatic outreach on the issue, was very important. It is a clear message to China that we will look you in the eye and also tell the world of your wrongdoings,” he said.

Debasish Chaudhari of the Institute of Chinese Studies, however, had a different view. 

Questioning the objective of the visit, he said, “PM visited an integral part of Indian territory almost in a clandestine manner. Is it a personal visit or formal visit or a visit of a statesman to a war zone? He likes to break protocol, but what does he want to achieve by going there?”

BJP hails, Congress questions visit

BJP hailed PM’s visit. “PM Modi’s words give words to the emotion of 130 crore Indians and act as a great morale booster for our armed forces!” tweeted party chief J P Nadda.

However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a veiled swipe.

“Ladakhis say: China took our land. PM says: Nobody took our land. Obviously, someone is lying,” he tweeted. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

40 Days ago

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