GUREZ, JAMMU AND KASHMIR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spent his fourth Diwali with soldiers - this time at Gurez in Jammu and Kashmir, where troops of the 15 Corps are stationed. During the two-hour tour in Gurez -- a picturesque valley along the Line of Control in Bandipora district - Prime Minister said like everyone else, he was spending the festival with his "family".
The Prime Minister said he gets fresh energy when he spends time among the jawans of the Armed Forces. He said he appreciated their penance and sacrifice amid the harsh conditions.
In the visitors' book at the outpost, he wrote, "Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation's borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication... The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians."
Army chief General Bipin Rawat and other senior officers accompanied him, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting an Army official.
This was his second visit to Kashmir on Diwali. The first time was in 2014, months after the BJP-led government came to power in the Centre. He had spent the day at Siachen, the world's highest battlefield and announced a Rs. 570 crore package for Jammu and Kashmir, which had been hit by the worst floods in 100 years a month before.
"You make it possible for 125 crore Indians to celebrate Diwali happily. Your dreams and responsibilities are the responsibility of us all. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with you," he had told the soldiers.
In 2015, he celebrated it at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab.
Last year, he spent Diwali at the border posts in Himachal Pradesh. "They say you should celebrate Diwali with your people and that's why I have come here," he had told the Indo-Tibetan Border Police or ITBP personnel at the Sumdo forward post in Kinnaur, close to the border with China.