In an indirect reference to China, President Ram Nath Kovind has said that India's brave soldiers foiled an expansionist move along the country's borders. 

China has trying to ingress into Indian territory and has been in a standoff with Indian troops at multiple locations along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since the last eight months. 

Several rounds of meetings were held at the military and diplomatic levels but no breakthrough has happened. 

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"Last year was a time of adversity that came from many fronts. We faced an expansionist move on our borders, but our valiant soldiers foiled it. To achieve this objective, 20 of them had to lay down their lives. The nation shall remain grateful to the brave soldiers," the President said during his address to the nation on the eve of 72nd Republic Day. 

"From the freezing cold at Siachen and Galwan valley in Ladakh with temperatures as low as minus 50 to 60 °C to the scorching heat in Jaisalmer with temperatures as high as 50 °C – on land, in the skies and at the vast coastal areas – our warriors are vigilant every moment," President Kovind said.

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"Every citizen feels proud about the bravery, patriotism and the spirit of sacrifice among our soldiers," he added.

Reiterating India's commitment to peace, the President said national interest will be protected at all costs. 

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"Our defence forces -- Army, Air Force and Navy -- are adequately mobilised in a well-coordinated move to thwart any attempt to undermine our security."