Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday was met with thunderous applause as he praised the Indian Army for its achievements, saying that it does not speak, but perform acts of courage and valour. He also said that the Army's biggest strength and weapon was its determination and willpower, which it derives from the country's population.
He was speaking at the Shaurya Samman Sabha in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, where he also unveiled a Shaurya Smarak — a memorial honouring the valour of the Indian armed forces. He called it a tirth sthan — place of pilgrimage — for people at present as well as the coming generations.
Praising the Army right off the bat, especially for its work in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said: "When we talk about our soldiers, it is mostly about their uniform and their valour, but we must also see them as an example of humanity."
"During flooding in Srinagar, Army men extended their help for rescue and relief operations in the area. While extending help, the soldiers did not for once think that these were the same people who pelt stones at them," he added.
In an apparent dig at Pakistan as well as further words of praise for the military, the prime minister said: "While rescuing Indians in Yemen, the army also rescued a few Pakistanis. This is the example of humanity of our Indian Army."
In light of constant criticism that the Army was not being allowed to retaliate to Pakistani action along the border, Modi said he recognised how the Army suffered from lack of political will. He said: "The Army is happy if we sleep peacefully. But it is hurt when we are awake, but act as if we are asleep."
Watch how the crowd applauds as Modi says: "The Army does not speak. It shows valour."