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India wants peace but can give befitting reply when provoked: PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he wanted to assure the nation that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers killed in a clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh would not go in vain and India, while peace-loving, is capable of giving a fitting reply if provoked.

“No one should be in any doubt. India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply, be it any situation,” PM Modi warned in a strong message to China after the border fight on Monday that marked the giant escalation after weeks of tension.

“The country will be proud to know that our soldiers died fighting the Chinese,” said the Prime Minister, who observed two minutes of silence in tribute to the 20 soldiers who died for the country before starting a scheduled meeting with chief ministers on the coronavirus crisis.

Also Read: Loss of soldiers in Galwan Valley “deeply disturbing and painful”: Rajnath Singh 

“I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain. For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is most important,” said PM Modi, who had been accused by opposition leaders like Congress’s Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda of silence on the month-long tension with China and Monday’s killings.

The Prime Minister said India wants that differences should not become disputes. “We never provoke anyone but we will not compromise with integrity and sovereignty. Whenever time has come, we have proved our strength and capabilities in protecting our integrity and sovereignty. Sacrifice and resilience is in our national character. But valour and courage is also our country’s character,” PM Modi warned.

PM Modi has called an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation at the India-China border after the Ladakh clash. Presidents of political parties have been called for the meeting at 5 pm on Friday via video.

Also Read: As India-China border standoff intensifies, Rahul Gandhi asks ‘why is PM Modi hiding’

Sources said around 45 Chinese soldiers have been killed or injured in the fight at Galwan Valley. There were “casualties on both sides”. After confirming the death of three soldiers, including a Colonel, on Tuesday morning, the army added that 17 more critically wounded soldiers were “exposed to sub-zero temperatures” and died of their injuries.

After army casualties, PM Modi calls for all-party meet on India-China border