Modi vows ‘befitting reply’ to India’s enemies

New Delhi: In a veiled warning to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Indian soldiers will give a “befitting reply” to whosoever attempts to ruin peace and progress in India.

While India fiercely believed in peace, it would not compromise with its honour and sovereignty at “any cost”, he said.

Modi’s remarks came in his 48th episode of monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, a day after India celebrated the second anniversary of the 2016 surgical strike by the Army on terrorist hubs in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Recalling the surgical strike as a reply to the “audacity of a proxy war under the garb of terrorism”, Modi, without naming Pakistan, said: “It has now been decided that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy the atmosphere of peace and progress in our nation.

“We staunchly believe in peace; we are committed to taking it forward… but not at the cost of compromising our self-respect and sovereignty.”

Modi’s attack came a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, speaking at the UN General Assembly, denounced Pakistan for its continued support to terrorism on Indian soil and blamed Islamabad for sabotaging the bilateral talks process.

Sushma Swaraj said that talks cannot be pursued in the midst of “terrorist bloodshed” with a nation that “glorifies killers” and refuses to see the “blood of innocents”.

India on September 21 called off talks by Foreign Ministers with Pakistan in New York, blaming Islamabad for the killing of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and accusing it of glorifying terrorism.

Modi said: “India has always been resolutely committed to peace. In the two World Wars fought in the 20th century, over a lakh of our soldiers made the supreme sacrifice; that too in a war where we were not involved in any way.

“We have never eyed someone else’s territory maliciously. This in itself was our commitment and dedication towards peace.

“Even today, India is one of the largest contributors to various UN Peace Keeping forces in terms of sending personnel. For decades, our brave soldiers wearing blue helmets have played a stellar role in ensuring maintenance of world peace.”

The Prime Minister said that remembering the surgical strikes will remind “our youths about the glorious heritage and valour of our armed forces.

“It also inspires us to ensure our country’s unity and integrity.”