Within hours of the Uri attack Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the country that “those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished” while Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Pakistan “a terrorist state” which “should be identified and isolated”.
As Army chief General Dalbir Singh headed to Srinagar and Uri, President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, condemned the “outrageous terrorist attack” and said “India will not be cowed down by such attacks, we will thwart the evil designs of terrorists and their backers”.
The Prime Minister is said to have been “terribly disturbed” on learning of the terrorist attack this morning. He spoke to Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the phone.
Parrikar cut short his Goa visit and rushed to Srinagar via New Delhi. “Condemn the cowardly terror attack on Army camp at Uri. I salute the brave martyrs for their supreme sacrifice,” he said before leaving for Srinagar.
The Prime Minister, in a statement, said: “We strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Uri. I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished. We salute all those martyred in Uri. Their service to the nation will always be remembered. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”
“Raksha Mantri will go to J&K himself to take stock of the situation,” he said.
On the Prime Minister’s instructions, Rajnath Singh called a high-level meeting to assess the situation and take the latest briefing from the Army.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, chiefs of IB and R&AW and the DGMO briefed Singh who later gave a detailed brief to the Prime Minister.
A top level source echoed the Prime Minister and said: “The PM will surely and firmly take action to punish the perpetrators of terror.”
The government and the BJP have surmised that “Indian people will support whatever strong action India takes as deterrent to stop Pakistan from spreading terror across the border”.
However, those who are well-versed with the Prime Minister’s working style know that he is likely to respond to any grave event only at a time that suits him best.
A senior intelligence officer, who is part of the response team, told The Indian Express: “The surprising thing is why did Pakistan-based outfits make a tactical error of attacking India now? The terror attack on Indian soil is a tremendous disadvantage to Pakistan when the UNGA meet is just days away. It has, once more, internationalised their policy of using terror as a weapon in conducting diplomacy.”
Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh, who directed security forces to mount an all-out offensive against terrorists in the Valley, expressed “deep disappointment with Pakistan’s continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups”.
He said “there are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped”. He said those behind the attack will be brought to justice.
Cancelling a scheduled visit to the United States and Russia in view of the attack, the Home Minister also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“I have given instructions to the Home Secretary and other senior officers in MHA to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the USA,” Singh said in a series of tweets.