Defence Minister celebrates Holi with soldiers in Leh

New Delhi, Mar 24 (UNI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday celebrated the festival of Holi with the soldiers in Leh and hailed the valour, determination and sacrifice of the soldiers serving in the harsh terrain and inclement weather conditions to protect the motherland.

He was scheduled to visit Siachen to celebrate Holi with the soldiers but due to bad weather conditions, he could not go to the world’s highest battlefield, an official statement said.

Addressing the soldiers, the Defence Minister said that as he could not go to Siachen due to bad weather, he was wishing Happy Holi to all the soldiers deployed there from Leh.

He said just as Delhi is the national capital, Mumbai, the financial capital, and Bengaluru is the technology capital, similarly he termed Ladakh as India’s capital of valour and bravery.

The Defence Minister said, “India is a country of festivals and the joy of celebrating festivals comes only among loved ones. To celebrate Holi, I have come to play colours with my family.”

He asserted that he decided to celebrate Holi with the soldiers a day before, as he believed that the festivals should first be celebrated by and with the protectors of the country.

He urged the Chiefs of the three Services to establish a new tradition of beginning the celebrations of the festivals with the soldiers a day before.

“Such celebrations with soldiers on the snowy peaks of Kargil, in the scorching plains of Rajasthan and in the submarines located in the deep seas should become an integral part of our culture,” he said.

“The entire country feels safe as our brave soldiers are protecting the borders. We are progressing and leading a happy life as our vigilant soldiers stand ready at the borders. Every citizen is proud of the Armed Forces as they live far away from their families so that we celebrate Holi and other festivals with our families peacefully. The nation will forever be indebted to our soldiers, and their courage and sacrifices will keep inspiring the future generations,” the Defence Minister said.

Hailing the soldiers for their valour and dedication, Rajnath Singh said, “Indian Army is another name for willpower and courage. The height at which you stand and serve the country, in such difficult circumstances, is incomparable. For this display of unwavering willpower, the country will always be indebted to you.”

The Defence Minister said that the work they were doing for the nation was not an ordinary work, but a “divine work” which is priceless.

On the occasion, Singh also laid a wreath at the War Memorial, Leh as a mark of solemn tribute to the bravehearts who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.

Later, he spoke with the soldiers posted in the world’s highest battlefield Siachen over phone and extended the Holi greetings. He told them that he will soon visit Siachen and interact with them.

The Minister was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande and General Officer Commanding, Fire and Fury Corps Lt Gen Rashim Bali.

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