This visit comes just three days after the recent agreement with China on the phased disengagement of frontline troops. The trip was completely unannounced by India’s Prime Minister, however, during the trip, he visited a military base which analysts described as Mr Modi sending a strong message to Beijing and the Indian public following the deadly clash. Both sides have significantly reinforced their forces following the incident on June 15 in the disputed Galwan Valley, close to Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin.
It was the first time a clash between the two had resulted in fatalities in 45 years.
20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese ended up dying in the largely hand-to-hand brawl.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian warned New Delhi against making a “strategic miscalculation” and ended up lashing out at Indian officials for making what he determined as irresponsible remarks.
This was announced on Friday without even Mr Lijian mentioning Prime Minister Modi or his frontline visit.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
He also called on India to “work with China to safeguard the overall situation”.
Mr Zhao also accused New Delhi of violating World Trade Organisation rules by banning Chinese smartphone apps and prohibiting Chinese companies from working on road projects.
He said that Beijing would “take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises in India”.
India and China border
The visit to see troops, was Mr Modi’s first to the area since the border row started back in early May.
He met India troops who were not just patrolling the border, but who’d also been wounded in the recent clash.
The deadly clash took place at Nimmu in the Leh district, around 250km (155 miles) from the disputed border between the two sides.
He used the visit to take a thinly veiled swipe at China, saying “the age of expansionism” was over.
President Xi of China
“This is the age of development. Whenever a country has been consumed by expansionism, it has posed a threat to humanity and has destroyed the world.
“History is a witness that expansionist forces either lose or turn back,” Modi said.
Accompanied by top military brass, Modi paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and said the weak could not bring about peace.
Indian tributes to fallen troops
“Only the brave can bring about peace,” he continued.
His visit included a trip to a hospital in Leh, where the soldiers wounded in the face-off was being treated and said: “We never have and never will bow down to any power in the world.”
This trip came after “positive progress” had reportedly been made on Tuesday in talks between senior commanders.
A state-funded media outlet controlled by the Communist Party had said on Thursday that both sides were agreeing to disengage “in batches”.
Inidan Soldiers on the border near China
Prime Minister Modi is also seeking to counter fierce domestic criticism over his relatively restrained public response to the deadly clash.
Former director general of military operations Lt General Vinod Bhatia said the visit to the troops sent a strong signal, adding “it does not get bigger than this”.
“It is morale boosting for the troops. But it also signifies to China that the country has resolved to stand firm,” he said.