In his first direct reference to the September 29 surgical strikes+ across the Line of Control (LoC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that while Israel has been known for such operations+ , the Indian Army has proved it is no less capable.
“Today the entire nation is talking of the valour of our Army. Earlier, we used to hear of Israel having done something like this. But the country has seen that the Indian Army is no less than anyone else+ ,” the PM said, addressing a rally here on Tuesday .The PM’s increasingly assertive stance seems to reflect BJP’s calculations that the cross-LoC raids will yield political dividends+ with sizeable constituencies such as ex-service personnel and also resonate with the party’s “nationalist” plank. PM Modi also sought credit for successfully resolving the `one rank, one pension’ demand of ex-servicemen.
Modi is yet to mention the surgical strikes specifically, but has been incrementally forthright in referring to the Army’s action against terrorist launch pads+ in POK amid an acrimonious political debate over the raids. Initially, speaking in New Delhi on October 2, Modi struck a non-confrontational note, saying India had never coveted territory nor been an aggressor. But he was much more forceful at a Dussehra celebration in Lucknow on October 11, where he said, “Sometimes because of constraints of time and circumstances, war becomes necessary .”He was even more direct in Bhopal a few days later when he said the Army’s actions spoke louder than words. Modi’s remarks were more than complemented by defence minister Manohar Parrikar who indulged in considerable chest-thumping and credited the PM for displaying the political will to order the strikes.”We decided to give benefits of OROP in four instalments and have already released first instalment of Rs 5,500 crore,” he said, adding the remaining instalments too would be released by the Centre. Modi also took on Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh over allegations of corruption and said in contrast, former BJP CM Prem Kumar Dhumal was known for constructing roads in the state, especially in rural areas.
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