Our forces will not stop at any cost: Modi on India-Pak cross border strikes

New Delhi / Chennai: “The country’s heroic soldiers are showing their strength both on the border and across the border. I have full faith in our forces. They will not stop at any cost,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, sending across a strong message to Pakistan that India is not ready to back out without a fight.

The Prime Minister was addressing a mega gathering of volunteers, supporters and BJP karyakartas from across the country through video conference. This is his first public speech after the cross border strikes by the Indian Air Force on terrorist establishments in Pakistan.

Amidst mounting tensions and threats of imminent war between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan following the attack, the Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held an urgent meeting with the three service chiefs – Army, Navy and Air Force to discuss the security situation in the country. Home Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to meet intelligence bureau chief and RAW chief today as well.

With the future of Indian pilot Abhinandan at stake along with the lives of millions of people in the border regions of India and Pakistan, a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Modi scheduled at 7 pm today, will decide the fate of the two nations.

Pak violates ceasefire
With the world urging the bitter rivals to opt for peace, Pakistan’s ceasefire violations today morning have added fuel to fire. At around 6 am today, Pakistan again violated ceasefire along the Line Of Control (LoC) at the Krishna Ghati sector in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir and targetted forward posts along the LoC. This is the seventh consecutive day that Pakistan has violated the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement by targeting forward posts drawing strong retaliation from India.

Fate of Abhinandan
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is ready to negotiate over return of arrested Indian pilot Abhinandan with ‘open heart’. The Chennai based Wing Commander’s MIG 21 Indian Air force plane was shot down by Pakistan Air Force’s F-16s and he was captured after he ejected on Pakistani soil.

With India pressurising Pakistan to respect the Geneva convention and ensure his quick release, Qureshi said in a message to India, “Your pilot is safe as Pakistan Army is responsible and respects military traditions. Indian pilot is being given every kind of facility.” Qureshi added that Pakistan wants to end hostile relation with India for which we are ready for positive steps.

Four pronged approach

In the ongoing crisis, the Indian government has adopted a four-pronged approach dealing with Pakistan. First, India accused Pakistan Air Force of targeting ‘Indian military installations’ and summoned Pakistan’’s Acting High Commissioner on Wednesday afternoon to lodge a ‘strong protest’ at what it called its ‘unprovoked act of aggression’. Second, India called Tuesday’’s Balakot strike a non-military ‘anti-terror’ pre-emptive strike.
Third, the Indian government told the Pakistan envoy that “India reserves the right to take firm and decisive action to protect its national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity against any act of aggression or cross-border terrorism.” And, lastly, India handed over a ‘dossier’ to Pakistan with specific details of Jaish-e-Mohammad’’s complicity in the Pulwama terror attack and the presence of its terror camps in Pakistan.

NT Bureau