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PM Modi lauds services of horses in armed forces

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New Delhi, May 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has noted that horses have been an integral part of India's glorious history and culture and hailed their contribution and services in the armed forces.

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The prime minister also specifically lauded 'Virat', the horse part of the President's Bodyguard regiment which retired from its years-long service after the 73rd Republic Day parade earlier this year.

The praise came in a letter Modi wrote to Colonel (retd) H S Sodhi in which he said horses have been an integral part of "our rich and glorious history and culture".

Sodhi had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Modi praising and thanking him from the heart for showing affection towards 'Virat' on the occasion of Republic Day.

In his letter, Sodhi had written to the prime minister that by honouring the services of 'Virat', he had made the Republic Day parade special and memorable.

In his letter to Sodhi, Modi said that according to religious beliefs, the Sun God also rides a chariot of seven horses.

The prime minister further wrote that stories of heroic warriors like Maharana Pratap and Rani Lakshmi Bai having a great bond with their horses and their valour are also well known.

'Virat' and other brave horses of cavalry regiments are carrying on this unique tradition even today, Modi said in the letter, according to Sodhi.

The prime minister expressed confidence that cavalry regiments and armed forces would continue to carry on this glorious tradition.

Earlier, on the 73rd Republic Day parade, Prime Minister Modi had expressed his affection for 'Virat' by patting his forehead.

Prime Minister Modi had also praised 'Virat' in the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme.

'Virat' was the mount of President's Bodyguard Commandant Colonel Anup Tiwary and took part 13 times in Republic Day parades.

'Virat' was awarded the Chief of the Army Staff Commendation on the eve of Army Day on January 15 - the first horse to receive the commendation for exceptional service and abilities.

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