Even Our Soldiers Are Social Distancing in Ladakh. That’s the Kind of Discipline We Need to Beat this Pandemic

Social Commentary

Even Our Soldiers Are Social Distancing in Ladakh. That’s the Kind of Discipline We Need to Beat this Pandemic

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

A little over two weeks after a deadly clash between Indian and Chinese forces in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a visit to the Union Territory on Friday. The PM arrived at Nimu in Ladakh to meet with the Indian soldiers stationed there, which included members of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

As part of the agenda for PM Modi’s visit, he met with top military commanders stationed at Nimu for a briefing. This was followed by PM Modi delivering an address to the troops. His address was telecast live to the rest of the country. In it, he praised the valour of the Indian troops and also referenced China’s expansionism along the Line of Actual Control without naming India’s aggressive neighbour directly.

The scenes as PM Modi addressed the troops, set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, was also a reminder of the ongoing global pandemic. The forces gathered to watch the PM’s address assembled on a field while maintaining six-foot distance from each other. The discipline shown by the armed forces could serve as an example to India’s civilians, as reports emerge daily of people disregarding safety measures even during the pandemic.

After the PM had made his address, he proceeded to a medical facility. There, he met the soldiers who had been injured in the July 15 clash with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Galwan Valley. PM Modi gave thanks to the soldiers recuperating from their injuries.

PM Modi’s Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping has not made any similar visits to the tense border. The PM’s visit to Ladakh has not only provided him with a photo-op, but also a chance to make a veiled reference to China’s ambitions in his speech while stating the Indian armed forces would not back down. The intent is evident, and as the situation continues to unfold, the efficiency of the execution will come to light.

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