14:23 GMT11 May 2021
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    'Diwali' - the Indian festival of lights - is a national holiday and is celebrated by all with family and friends. However, soldiers, especially those deployed at the border, seldom get a chance to go home to celebrate the festival.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers of the Indian Army and the Border Security Force (BSF) in Gurez Valley near the Line of Control in Badipora district of Kashmir.This is the fourth successive Diwali that Prime Minister Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers.

    Modi spent more than two hours with the soldiers at Indian Army’s brigade headquarter in Dawar in Gurez and offered sweets and exchanged greetings with them.

    ​Addressing the soldiers as ‘his family’, Modi appreciated the armed force’s penance and sacrifice amid harsh conditions.

    ​“Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are the symbols of bravery and dedication. I have the opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope and generates new energy among crores of Indians. To accomplish the dream of ‘New India’, this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The Army too is a part of it,” Prime Minister Modi wrote in the visitor's book at the outpost.

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    Soon after becoming Prime Minister in 2014, Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers at Siachin in Jammu and Kashmir. Whereas in 2015, Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers of Indian Army at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab. In 2016, Prime Minister Modi celebrated Diwali in Himachal Pradesh with soldiers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

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    Narendra Modi, celebration, Indian Armed Forces, India, Kashmir
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