Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a visit to Kargil in the upper regions of Jammu & Kashmir, today strongly criticised Pakistan for continuing a proxy war against India through terrorists.
"The people of Kargil are very patriotic and it is inspiring for the entire country," Modi, the first prime minister to visit Kargil after the 1999 events, which India sees as an undeclared war despite Pakistani disavowals, said.
Modi officially was in Leh to inaugurating the 44 MW Chutak power station in Kargil; but the visit to the remote region had obvious political undertones. State assembly elections for J&K are due later this year.
"I was here during the Kargil war. People knew I was a BJP worker, yet they never charged me any money. They said this too was a service to the nation.
"I saw soldiers get help and cooperation from people of Kargil. This kept their spirits high. I still remember the celebrations in Kargil the day Tiger Hill was won," Modi said.
Earlier in Leh, he came out strongly against Pakistan for continuing its proxy war of terrorism against India, saying it had lost the strength to fight a conventional war.
Addressing troops of the army and the Air Force, he said, "The neighbouring country has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.
The PM said Indian armed forces were suffering more casualties from terrorism than from war.
Noting that this was a global problem, he said all humanitarian forces of the world should unite to fight it. "India is committed to strengthening and uniting these humanitarian forces."
Tellingly, Modi said the government would bring a 'saffron revolution' in Jammu & Kashmir; quickly adding that it was Kashmiri kesar (saffron) of the state he was talking about.
Saffron is the colour associated with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.
"I am fortunate to have worked as a BJP worker in Jammu and Kashmir and will repay the debt I owe you for all the love," he said.
"I am aware of the difficulties of the region and also strengths. The''centre will work with the state for the development of the region," the PM added after inaugurating the 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo hydroelectric project in Leh.
Modi, who has been to the state twice now after assuming office, said there was a time when PMs never visited the Himalayan areas for years.