India capable of giving befitting reply if instigated: PM Modi on Galwan clash

Sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain; country will be proud of them, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 25th Foundation Day of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences at Bengaluru via video conferencing | PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi | PTI

Reacting to the worst border clash between India and China in almost half a century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday assured that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers killed in a clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh would not go in vain. "India wants peace but when instigated, it is capable of giving a befitting reply, be it any kind of situation," PM Modi said in a video message released ahead of a virtual meet convened to take stalk of the COVID situation in the country.

"The country will be proud that our soldiers died fighting the Chinese," said the Prime Minister, who also observed two minutes of silence in tribute to the soldiers before starting a scheduled meeting with chief ministers on the coronavirus crisis. "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 the most important," he said. We have tried that differences do not become disputes, he added. 

The PM's statement comes as China maintained and reiterated on Wednesday its sovereignty claim over the Galwan Valley area in Ladakh. 

Earlier in the day, Chinese state-run media Global Times, in its editorial, warned that China "does not and will not create conflicts, but it fears no conflicts either". The write up assumes significance as the Chinese government and the People's Liberation Army have not divulged many details regarding the border confrontation. The editorial reminded that China's military prowess is far superior to India's. 

Meanwhile, the prime minister has called for an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation in the "India-China border areas".

Twenty Indian soldiers including a colonel, were killed on Monday evening in a clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley. It was claimed that the Chinese side suffered "proportionate casualties" in the Galwan clash. According to US intelligence reports, the Chinese Army suffered 35 casualties during the violent clash.