New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh graced the ‘Shaurya Diwas’ celebrations in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on Thursday to commemorate the 75th year of air landed operations of the Indian Army at Budgam Airport in 1947, which ensured the first civil-military victory of Independent India.
On October 27, 1947, the Indian Army was inducted by the Indian Air Force at Budgam Airport to evict Pakistani forces from J&K, a day after the ‘Instrument of Accession’ was signed between Maharaja Hari Singh and Republic of India. 27th October is, hence, celebrated as ‘Infantry Day’. The event was organised as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
In his address, the Defence Minister paid rich tributes to the heroes of the Armed Forces & the people of J&K who laid down their lives to protect the unity & integrity of the country. He stated that it is because of their valour and sacrifice that J&K remained an integral part of India and will continue to be in the future. He asserted that despite a number of stumbling blocks, India has risen time & again because of the courage & sacrifice of our soldiers and today it is standing tall on the strong foundation laid by them.
“The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. The incident of 1947 is one such instance,” he said.
Rajnath Singh recalled the valour of the first Param Vir Chakra recipient, Major Somnath Sharma, who despite being injured led a company & saved the Srinagar airfield from enemy clutches and in the process made the supreme sacrifice. He also paid glowing tributes to the bravery of other Gallantry award winners such as Brigadier Rajinder Singh and Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai, who gave away their lives to protect the motherland.
The Raksha Mantri said, Major Somnath Sharma and other heroes will always remain a source of inspiration for every Indian and the Nation will forever be indebted to their sacrifices. He also remembered former Chief Minister of Odisha Biju Patnaik, who as a pilot during the war, made a valuable contribution to the movement of the troops. He commended the crucial role played by the people of J&K who helped the Armed Forces in forcing the enemies to retreat and protect the sovereignty of the country. Shri Rajnath Singh termed the campaign of October 27, 1947 as the one for safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity as well as the safety of the people. It was a campaign to protect the dreams and aspirations of the people of J&K, he said.
The Raksha Mantri added that post independence the people of J&K were deprived of development &tranquillity for decades,until the Government, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, came to the helm and abrogated Article 370, bringing a new era of peace &progress in the Union Territory (UT). He said, earlier some anti-India elements used to disturb peace and harmony in the name of religion, but now there is peace & tranquillity in J&K due to the persistent efforts by the Government and the Armed Forces.
“Terrorists have no religion. They are the enemies of humanity. Any violation of fundamental rights of a human being is not acceptable in an ideal society. This has been our commitment. The doors of development & peace have now been opened in J&K and Ladakh, with the people of the two UTs reaping the benefits of the welfare schemes of the Government of India. There is unity among the people who are moving forward hand-in-hand,” asserted Rajnath Singh.
The Defence Minister pointed out that some areas illegally occupied by Pakistan are still devoid of that progress.
“Pakistan is fully responsible for inhuman incidents against innocent Indians in PoK. In the times to come, Pakistan will face the result of its atrocities. Today, the region of J&K and Ladakh is touching new heights of development. This is just the beginning. Our aim is to implement the resolution unanimously passed in the Indian Parliament on February 22, 1994 to reclaim remaining parts, such as Gilgit and Baltistan,” he said.
Rajnath Singh stated that this ‘Shaurya Diwas’ gives the nation an opportunity to remember the valour of the bravehearts and inspires the people to take the country to greater heights with unity and dedication. “We are moving forward with the spirit of unity. We must resolve to fight together against any divisive forces which may come in the way of our development in the future,” he said.
During the event, the replication of the historic event was organised to pay obeisance to the brave soldiers and people of J&K. The Raksha Mantri, along with the citizens, witnessed the re-enactment of history, covering the violation of ‘Standstill Agreement’ by Pakistan. The event also depicted arrival of the Indian Army on October 27, 1947 to evict the Pakistani Forces. A stunning airshow was organised by the Indian Air Force, which mesmerised the audience. The Next of Kin of war veterans, who travelled from across the country, were felicitated at the event.
Lieutenant Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande; GOC-in-C, Northern Command Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi; Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command Air Marshal S Prabhakaran; General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps Lieutenant General ADS Aujla, along with several other civil and military dignitaries attended the event.