India's Modi meets troops in Diwali day Kashmir visit

By AFP
Published: October 23, 2014
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Indian paramilitary troopers on patrol in front of shuttered shops  during a one-day strike called by Kashmiri separatists protesting against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the region, in Srinagar on October 23, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

Indian paramilitary troopers on patrol in front of shuttered shops during a one-day strike called by Kashmiri separatists protesting against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the region, in Srinagar on October 23, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

SRINAGAR: India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a rare visit to the Siachen glacier in the disputed Kashmir region Thursday to rally the morale of troops after recent deadly border clashes with Pakistan.

As India celebrated the festival of Diwali, Modi travelled to the remote glacier to greet soldiers based at what has been dubbed the world’s highest battleground ahead of a visit to the state capital which was devastated by floods last month.

In a post on his Twitter feed Modi, said it was “my good fortune that I will be able to spend time with our brave soldiers on this special day”.

“Am going to Siachen with a message from each and every Indian to our soldiers — that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you!” he added.

Television footage later showed Modi meeting and greeting troops in Siachen which has previously been the scene of fierce fighting between India and Pakistan.

Both countries administer parts of Kashmir but claim sovereignty over the whole of the picturesque Himalayan region which has been a running sore between the two sides ever since independence.

The loss of several lives have been reported in the cross-border skirmishes in Kashmir earlier this month, with both sides blaming the other for provoking the firing.

After his trip to Siachen, Modi will head to the main city of Srinagar which last month bore the brunt of the region’s worst flooding in some six decades.

More than 450 people were killed in India and Pakistan when the floods swept through Kashmir and Pakistan’s neighbouring Punjab province.

The provincial government in Indian-administered Kashmir has been heavily criticised for its response to the flooding and shopkeepers were observing a strike on Thursday to mark Modi’s visit.

Provincial polls are scheduled to take place before the end of the year and Modi’s visit has been dismissed by opponents as an election stunt.

Many however observers say that the elections are likely to be postponed as a result of the floods.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Oct 23, 2014 - 3:55PM

    There is no closure of shops on the visit of Modi . Federal govt. has already given relief package of INR 15.2 billion for flood affected Kashmir. There is possibility of declaring further relief package of reconstruction of houses , utilities and economic development and Modi is welcomed in Kashmir . Yes, the separatist Hurriyat guys have declared a band ( closure of shops etc) to protest Modi’s visit but with no effect.

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  • it's (still) Economy Stupid
    Oct 23, 2014 - 6:53PM

    Modi’s visit has been dismissed by opponents as an election stunt.
    There is a history, Modi spent Diwali with Gujrat earth quake victims in 2001.

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  • Oct 23, 2014 - 7:10PM

    Indian Occupied Kashmir is shut down. Whole valley, the area, the State is
    under siege. Lockdown. Because Modi is visiting. Schools colleges markets
    shops all closed. Because the Kashmiris hate Modi. Make no mistake about it.
    They hate Modi there. The same Modi the Indian Press calls ‘Butcher of Gujrat’.

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  • Oct 24, 2014 - 12:07AM

    @Hobi Haripur wala.:-

    “Indian Occupied Kashmir is shut down. Whole valley, the area, the State is
    under siege. Lockdown. Because Modi is visiting. Schools colleges markets
    shops all closed. Because the Kashmiris hate Modi. Make no mistake about it.
    They hate Modi there. The same Modi the Indian Press calls ‘Butcher of Gujrat’.”

    i have read some of your comments posted in ET earlier & they were quite informative……. but your this comment irked me a little……so ,i wanted to share my point of view !!!!!!!!

    Modi is also famous in “Kashmir” & liked by many people thier even though their numbers are not overwhelming………..it could be guessed becoz Modi won election in kashmir at the national general election……Modi’s party Bjp won 3 out of 6 parliamentry seats from Kashmir in the elections held in April/May this year……….

    & from when you started beliving on “** Indian Press**……….
    Do you know what ” Indian Press” calls Pakistan & it’s establishment ??????

    Dude, you are from such a lovely place called “Haripur………it’s such a beautiful place….. i don’t mean to offend or hurt you………btw i know you are a lovely person from heart……

    may god bless you………..Salaams……….. ;)Recommend

  • Maazrat ke saath
    Oct 24, 2014 - 12:18AM

    Just one appreciable thing – Modi has decided to provide flood relief directly to the people’s bank accounts undercutting state bureaucracy – that is freaking awesome.

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  • Hilarious
    Oct 24, 2014 - 3:43AM

    @Hobi Haripur wala.:

    Even the devil quotes the scriptures when it suits him, and you are quoting Indian media? Care to quote the positive news about him?

    If there is a shutdown in the valley, it is not because of Modi, it is because of the fear of being shot dead for disobeying the orders of separatists. C’mon, everyone knows the ground situation. The separatists themselves say that if they don’t toe the Pakistan line, they will be killed. It is what has happened to so many separatist “leaders” in the Valley. Why do you think the world does not support Pakistan on this issue – everyone has seen through your lies and blackmailing attempts. And now you want to blackmail the world by rattling your nuclear weapons. You have no friend left in the world – and you threaten to shoot yourself if no one listens to you! A basket case of a country, living on the alms of donor countries, who is gaining momentum in your journey down the drain.

    Good luck – also, good riddance…

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