Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday compared the recent surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with Israel Defence Force operations, saying the Indian Army has shown its soldiers are second to none in carrying out swift military reprisals.
Modi was addressing a public rally in this town of Himachal Pradesh that he said was not only a “devbhoomi” (the abode of Gods) but also as a “veer bhumi” (land of the brave) because the northern state hugely contributes to the nation’s military and paramilitary forces.
Modi said almost every family in the state has a member in India’s armed forces. He was speaking after inaugurating three state-run mega hydropower projects during his day-long maiden visit as the Prime Minister to Himachal Pradesh, where assembly elections are due late next year.
The Prime Minister lauded the Indian Army for its valour in conducting the September 29 cross-border operation against terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The covert operation was said to have succeeded in dismantling seven terror launch pads and killing an unspecified number of terrorists and their sympathisers.
Modi didn’t make a direct mention of the surgical strikes but said earlier the world used to hear that only Israeli forces were capable of carrying out military reprisals and now everyone recognized that the Indian Army is no less capable.
“These days in the entire country there is a talk of the valour of the Indian Army. It used to be said that only Israel carried them out (swift military reprisal). The country saw that the Indian Army is not less than anyone,” Modi said.
The cross-border strikes, which have snowballed into a political row with the opposition accusing the government of drawing political mileage out of the army operation, were launched in retaliation for the terror attack on a military base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 19 soldiers.
Modi also said his government was committed to the welfare of the armed forces and had implemented the long pending demand of one rank one pension for the armed forces.
The Prime Minister criticised Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadhra Singh but didn’t take his name.
He hailed past BJP chief ministers Shanta Kumar “remembered as ‘paani wala Chief Minister’ and Prem Kumar Dhumal “remembered as the ‘grameen sadak wale Chief Minister”.
“And we all know about this Chief Minister and how he will be remembered,” Modi said.