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PM Modi Urges Citizens to ‘Stand as Rock’ as Indian-Pakistani Standoff Escalates

© AP Photo / Mahesh Kumar A.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday, India and Pakistan engaged in an air battle with both sides reportedly losing a fighter jet, a day after the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike against what it said was a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist group camp located in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir.

In an address to his Bharatiya Janata Party members on Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged each and every compatriot to “stand as a wall, as a rock in the face of their objective”.

Modi stressed that his countrymen should unite as “the enemy seeks to destabilise India”, without mentioning Pakistan by name.

READ MORE: India-Pakistan: Author Sees Opportunity for Lowering Tension Amid Chaos

 “The entire country is one today and standing with our soldiers. The world is looking at our collective will and we have faith in our forces’ capacity," Modi said, pledging that India will “fight and win as one”.

The statement comes after UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric urged New Delhi and Islamabad on Wednesday to “urgently take steps to lower tensions through meaningful, mutual engagement and meet their responsibilities to maintain peace and security in the region”.

Earlier on Wednesday, India and Pakistan engaged in an air battle, just a day after the IAF carried out an airstrike against a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist camp located in the Pakistani-controlled part of the Kashmir region.

READ MORE: Pakistan's Envoy Blames US for 'Emboldening' India Amid Kashmir Escalation

The Pakistani Army arrested an Indian pilot whose jet was shot down after entering Pakistani airspace.

An India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldier keeps vigil during patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu February 26, 2019 - Sputnik International
Pakistan and India Exchange Fire in Kashmir - Indian Defence Ministry
Tensions between the two sides escalated on 14 February when at least 45 Indian paramilitary officers were killed after a car carrying over 100 pounds of explosives detonated next to a security convoy in Kashmir.

India named JeM leader Maulana Masood Azhar as the person responsible for ordering the attack and accused Pakistan of having a "direct hand" in the bombing. Islamabad has rejected the allegations, blaming New Delhi for human rights violations in Kashmir.

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