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India commemorates 73rd Army Day as stand-off continues against China 

Indian Army

India marks the 73rd Army Day on Friday since 15 January 1949, when General KM Cariappa took over the charge of the Indian Army from British General Sir Francis Butcher.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane congratulated the Indian Army and their family members on the occasion.

Saying that the courageous Indian Army has made the country proud, Modi tweeted: "Congratulations to the mighty soldiers of the country who stand in defence of Mother Bharati and their family members on Army Day. Our army is strong, courageous and determined, and has always made the country proud. I salute the Indian Army on behalf of all the countrymen."

President Kovind too tweeted from the official handle of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, saying: "On Army Day, greetings to the valiant men and women of the Indian Army. We remember the bravehearts who made the supreme sacrifice in service to the nation. India will remain forever grateful to courageous and committed soldiers, veterans and their families. Jai Hind!"

The Army Day is significant this year as India is facing aggression from both of its belligerent neighbours. The stand-off with China has entered into its eighth month on the eastern border while Pakistan has been continuously shelling across the western border and infiltrating armed terrorists into India. Despite continuous engagement with China through diplomatic and military-level talks, China has steadfastly refused to withdraw its troops from the Indian side of the border.

General Rawat said "On the historic Army Day, we pay homage and express our gratitude to those brave soldiers, whose valour and Supreme sacrifice in line of duty inspires us to rededicate ourselves with renewed vigour."

General Naravane referred to both the neighbours without mentioning their names.

Naravane said: “While remaining committed to resolving disputes through dialogue and diplomacy, the Indian Army has been swift and decisive in its response to counter any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control. Relentless operations against state-sponsored terrorism have reinforced moral and operational ascendancy along the Line of Control.”

Separately, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking on the Veterans Day on January 14, said that India would give a befitting response if its pride is hurt by any super power. "If any super power hurts our national pride, our soldiers are capable of giving a fitting response though we do not want a war," Singh said at the fifth Armed Forces Veterans' Day.

Noting that India stood for peace and friendly relations with all the countries, especially in the region, Singh said the nation is against armed conflict and wants to maintain peace, which is its hoary culture. He also praised the soldiers in displaying bravery for eliminating hundreds of terrorists intruding from across Pakistan. He also commended them for protecting the country on the northern border facing China..