This Diwali turned unforgettable for me, says Prime Minister Modi
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said spending Diwali with soldiers was an 'unforgettable' experience and lauded the Indian forces for their role in United Nations' peacekeeping missions.
In the 37th edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', Modi spoke of his Diwali celebration with the soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Gurez sector, saying people should listen to their 'tales of valour'.
"Memories of Diwali celebrations with our security forces will remain cherished in my heart.
"I salute every soldier who guards the borders with utmost dedication and a spirit of sacrifice, braving all odds. Whenever we get a chance, we must try to know the experiences of our soldiers and listen to their tales of valour," he said.
Talking about UN Peacekeeping Forces, to which India is the third largest contributor, the Prime Minister said Indian soldiers had brought glory to the nation.
"Our soldiers play an important role not only on our borders but also in establishing peace the world over," Modi said.
He said more than 18,000 Indian security personnel had lent their services to the UN Peacekeeping Operations and around 7,000 Indian soldiers were now involved in these missions.
Till August 2017, Indian soldiers had taken part in about 50 of the total 71 peacekeeping operations undertaken by the UN in countries including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Congo, Cyprus, Liberia, Lebanon and Sudan.
"In Congo and Southern Sudan, more than 20,000 patients were treated in hospitals of the Indian Army and countless lives were saved."
Stating the India always stood for equal rights for women, Modi pointed out that in its initial phase, the UN Declaration of Human Rights was proposed as "all men are born free and equal".
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This was later amended to "all human beings are born free and equal", with the efforts of Indian representative Hansa Mehta.
Indian women have also played a "leading role" in UN operations and India was the first country to send a female police unit to Liberia, Modi said.
"The brave peacekeepers from this land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha have sent out a message of peace and amity around the world. Peacekeeping operation is not an easy task," he added.