Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Sunday that India has given a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on its territory in Ladakh, stating that while the country honours the spirit of friendship, it is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary.
Paying tributes to the 20 army men killed in the violent stand off with China's People's Liberation Army earlier this month, Modi also said that India's brave soldiers have shown that they will not allow the nation's pride to be hurt.
The prime minister's strong words on his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast came amid a standoff between Indian and Chinese armies in eastern Ladakh, with the opposition Congress constantly attacking the central government over the issue.
"Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship. It is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary, without shying away," he said in his address without naming China.
The prime minister also made a vigorous push for the use of locally made products, saying being "vocal for local" is also a way to strengthen the country and to serve it.
Modi said India's aim is to become self-reliant. Its tradition is trust and friendship and its spirit is brotherhood. "We will keep moving ahead abiding by these principles," he said.
The prime minister also referred to an old saying which means that a person who is wicked by nature uses education to foster conflict, wealth for conceit and strength to trouble others whereas, a gentleman uses education for knowledge, wealth for helping and strength for protecting.
"India has always used her might, echoing the same sentiment," he said.
The prime minister felt that a self-reliant India would be true tribute to the slain soldiers.
"We should strive towards enhancing the country's capabilities and capacities in safeguarding our borders. A self-reliant India would be a tribute to our martyrs in the truest, deepest sense," he said.
Modi also referred to a woman from Assam who wrote that she has resolved to buy only local products after watching what happened in east Ladakh.
"I am receiving messages on these lines from every corner of the country," he said.
There have been calls for boycotting Chinese products in the wake of the Ladakh incident.
Responding to another letter, he said before Independence, India was ahead of many nations in the defence sector with a multitude of ordnance factories.
"Many countries that lagged behind us then, are ahead of us now. After Independence, we should have made efforts in the defence sector, taking advantage of our prior experience…we did not," he lamented.
"But today, in the fields of defence and technology, India is relentlessly endeavouring to advance on those fronts….India is taking strides towards self-reliance," he said.
He also pitched for people's participation in making India self-reliant.
"When you buy 'local', become 'vocal for local' you play a role in strengthening the country," he said.