While officially launching the Lok Sabha (lower house of the parliament) election campaign in the Eastern Indian state of Bahir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a dig at the opposition in the country, noting that “there is a competition to abuse the chowkidar,” NDTV quoted him as saying.
Modi addressed the crowd at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, asserting that the Indian National Congress’ stance on the recent terrorist attacks and Indian law enforcement’s response would only please Pakistan.
"They asked for evidence of the surgical strikes. Now, they ask for evidence of the strikes by the Air Forces", Modi picked up on the Congress’ approach, further bringing it to task:
"I want to know from the Congress and other parties why they are bent on destroying armed forces' morale. Why is the Congress giving speeches where enemies are benefitting? When we had to stand united against terror factories, 21 parties united for questioning us", he added.
Modi went on to state that Pakistan, conversely, is “applauding those words”.
The Congress Party is part of the opposition alliance in the state and the country as a whole. The party, along with its ally Tejashwi Yadav, has accused India’s biggest party in terms of representation across the country, Bharatiya Janata Party, of politicising the sacrifices of the soldiers killed during the counter-terrorist operations.
The prime minister referred to the opposition’s aim as “to destroy Modi”, “while Modi is seeking to destroy terror”, he went on.
“Their attitude towards national security… that's not relevant anymore. It is a new India. We don't remain quiet about sacrifices”, Modi stressed, adding that the country “pays back at every instance”, continuing to recall how the air force had targeted the Jaish-e Mohammad terror camp at Balako.
India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir was recently rocked by a massive terrorist attack that also led to an escalation of tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which India has accused of harbouring terrorist cells.
On 27 February, the Pakistani military reported that they had shot down two Indian fighter jets that had allegedly violated the country’s airspace over Kashmir. New Delhi specified that they had lost only one warplane, a MiG-21 that was involved in a counter-terrorism mission near Balakot and downed a Pakistani jet in an aerial incident. Pakistani forces have denied suffering any losses.
Prior to the incident, on 14 February, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group, attacked an Indian security convoy in the India-controlled Phulwama district of the Jammu and Kashmir state, killing 45 Indian paramilitary officers. The assault is the biggest terrorist act in India since 2008.