Addressing the crowd in New Delhi's IGI Stadium on Saturday on the occasion of the Kargil Vijay Diwas, PM Narendra Modi reminisced the sacrifice made by the warriors during the 1999 Kargil War stating that 'War is not fought by governments, but by a nation.'
"The victory story which was written 20 years ago will keep inspiring us. In the previous 2-3 weeks, these stories have been retold through various celebrations throughout the nation. Just a few minutes ago our martyr's valour has been refreshed," he said.
"This evening fills us with joy, enthusiasm and compels us to lower our heads in honour of the sacrifice of the Army. Kargil's victory was a victory of Army's bravery, India's principles, faith, limits, and discipline. Kargil's victory was a victory of every citizens' faith in duty. War is not fought by governments. War is fought by the entire nation. For the nation those who sacrifice for the country are immortal," he added.
Reminiscing his own visit to Kargil in 1999 and 2014, PM Modi said that Kargil is sacred to him, detailing the various schemes like OROP, army children's scholarships and the many schemes implemented by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"In 2014, a few months after being sworn in, I visited Kargil. I also got the chance to visit Kargil in 1999 when the war had peaked. The enemy was at a great height playing their games. Inspite of seeing death in front of his eyes, every Indian soldier wanted to hoist the flag first on the peak. As an ordinary citizen, I went prostrated the soil on which many soldiers had laid their lives. Kargil is sacred to me," said PM Modi.
He added: "During the war, the entire nation was with the Army. Then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that those who sacrifice for the nation, if we could not take care of them for the rest of their lives, then we cannot be called as a leader of the nation. We always strive to keep that alive."
"In the last five years, many decisions have been made in the welfare of the Army and their family. Since independence, the most awaited One Rank One Pension was implemented by our government. War martyr's children's scholarship and the War memorial have also been implemented by us," he said.
He also praised India's tradition of keeping humanity its highest priority, speaking of the 'Border area development program'.
"Atalji's government had set the agenda of peace due to which the world changed its perspective of India. India's history is a witness that we have never attacked first. The welfare of humanity and peaceful co-existence is part of our culture. If the Indian Army is to protect India, on a global scale, it also is the protector of humanity," he said.
He added: "Along with the borders, we are also securing the villages bordering those areas. We know their problems. In the past five years, we have strengthened the border area development program has helped by giving 4500 crores to the 17 states. Protection to Jammu-Kashmir citizens has also been taken by this government."
He concluded the speech by turning to a grave issue of intolerance and deep divide in the nation by reminding that Kargil, Freedom struggle and the Constitution was not for one religion, state or language, but for the entire nation.
"Once the country is secure, then only we can develop. But we must remember - in 1947, did only language-speaking people get freedom? Or just one cast or religion? Entire India gained freedom. When we wrote our Constitution, was it only for one state, caste or language? It was for the entire nation. Was Kargil fought only for one sect of people? It was not for one religion, language or caste? It was for India," he said.
"Let us pledge that these sacrifices of our warrior will not be wasted. We will be inspired and make their dream India true. On this day, let us promise to sacrifice our lives in the service of the country," said PM Modi followed by Chnats of "Bharat Mata ki Jai".