Once Again PM Modi Celebrates Diwali With Jawans, This Year In J&K's Gurez

| October 19 , 2017 , 14:38 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is once again celebrating the festival of Diwali with the troops stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, this year in J&K’s Gurez sector in the Bandipora district, where he will be spending the day with the 15 Corps in north Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC).

On Thursday, the Prime Minister flew to Srinagar en route to Gurez sector and was received at the Srinagar airport by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. The Army chief along with Northern Command chief Lt General Devraj Anbu and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu accompanied PM Modi to Gurez.

Previously, PM Modi spent his first Diwali as Prime Minister of the nation also in Kashmir, in Siachen following the devastating floods in the Valley. Last year, PM Modi had celebrated Diwali with troops as well, but in a remote and strategic location of Himachal Pradesh adjoining the Chinese border. In 2015, the PM also celebrated Diwali with troops, but with the troops in the border area near Amritsar.

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Although on Wednesday itself 8 civilians were wounded when Pakistani troops violates ceasefire on the forward posts and civilian hamlets along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, early on Thursday both Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets at the Attari-Wagah border on the occasion of Diwali.

On Wednesday, the eve of Diwali, the government announced a ‘Diwali Gift’ for the armed forces by reducing call rates on satellite phones used by the forces in remote areas down to Rs 1 per minute from the previous Rs 5 per minute.

"It's a Diwali gift from the ministry to soldiers. They can now talk to their families for longer durations without worrying about the charges," said communications minister Manoj Sinha on Wednesday.

The move is expected to cost the government Rs 3-4 crore per annum.

This year has been marred by over 600 ceasefire violations by the Pakistani side, the highest in a decade.