Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the 66th edition of the monthly Mann ki Baat radio programme, with the focus of the talk on the tensions with China post violent clashes in the Galwan Valley that left 20 Indian soldiers dead as well as the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis as cases crossed the 5 lakh-mark.
Here is all you need to know:
• In his radio address, PM Modi said people were commonly talking about when will 2020 end. “They feel it has been a year of many challenges. There could be any number of challenges but our history shows that we've always overcome them. We've emerged stronger after challenges,” he said.
• Talking about the Galwan Valley clashes, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, PM Modi said: “The world has seen India's commitment to protecting its borders & sovereignty. In Ladakh, a befitting reply has been given to those coveting our territories.”
• He added: “Bharat mitrata nibhana jaanta hai, toh, aankh mein aankh dalkar dekhna aur uchit jawab dena bhi janta hai. Hamare veer sainikon ne dikha dia ke vo Maa Bharti ke gaurav par aanch nahi aane denge (India knows how to maintain friendship but also look our enemy in the eye and retaliate if the need arises. Our brave soldiers have proved that they willnot let any harm come on their motherland).”
• “You would be seeing many inspiring stories of migrant labourers. In UP's Barabanki, labourers who returned from outside started working to restore natural form of Kalyani river. While staying in isolation, the way migrant labourers have changed things around them is commendable,” he said on migrants who have returned home amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
• As compared to lockdown, we need to be even more careful now during Unlock. If you don't wear masks, follow social distancing & other precautions, you put yourself as well as others at risk. I appeal to all countrymen to not be careless, PM Modi said as India recorded nearly 20,000 new cases in a span of 24 hours.
• Today’s Mann ki Baat comes amid an alarming surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, with the health ministry saying eight states, which include Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, contributed 85.5 per cent of active Covid-19 cases and also accounted for 87 per cent deaths due to the viral infection. "It was mentioned that presently eight states - Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal - contribute 85.5 percent active case load and 87 percent total deaths in India," said a Health Ministry statement on the briefing it gave to the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
• The PM’s interaction also comes as India locks horns with China over the age-old border dispute between the countries. Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region.
• The Congress has been attacking Prime Minister Modi as well as the Centre over the border row with China, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi asking them to come clean on the Indian territories occupied by the neighbour.
• The opposition party also hit out at the government over the rising fuel prices in the country, with a Maharashtra Congress leader saying the PM should speak about the issue in his Mann ki Baat address. In a historic first, the price of diesel crossed that of petrol in Delhi, with petrol at Rs 80.38/litre & diesel at Rs 80.40/litre. “Now fuel prices are rising regularly, which will also increase the inflation. People can not deal with inflation amid coronavirus pandemic. So People should suggest that the PM talk on the fuel price hike,” said Maharashtra state Congress secretary Mohan Joshi.