While upbeat after the IAF’s strike at Balakot terror camps in Pakistan, the BJP on Tuesday is learnt to have asked party leaders to maintain restraint in their reactions and project the move not as “revenge” for Pulwama terror attack but as a “pre-emptive strike at terror camps to protect the sovereign space and its security” at a time when as the Jaish-e-Mohammad is “preparing for a series of suicide attacks on Indian soil”.
“No need to be boisterous,” was the advise party has given to its national spokespersons on Tuesday, according to sources. Sources attributed the caution to the uncertainty over Pakistan’s response, and in keeping with India’s global image.
Addressing a rally in Churu, Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided any direct reference to Pulwama or the air strike, and said: “Today is a day to pay homage to India’s bravehearts. Today, from the land of Churu, I want to assure the people that the country is in safe hands.”
Briefing BJP’s national spokespersons after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are learnt to have told them specifically that party leaders should refrain from chest-thumping over the strike —- at least for a few days. “We do not have an idea how Pakistan will react to it. It is not yet the time to rejoice, but we have to stay alert. This was the direction from the leadership,” a senior party leader said.
BJP leaders treaded carefully in their reaction after the CCS meeting, but chose to attribute the action to the “decisive leadership” under Modi. Reacting two hours after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s media briefing, BJP president Amit Shah tweeted, “I congratulate and salute the bravery and valour of our armed forces. Today’s action further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the strong & decisive leadership of PM @narendramodi… Today’s strong action shows the will and resolve of a New India. Our New India will not spare any acts of terror and their perpetrators and patrons.”
Earlier, party general secretary Ram Madhav had tweeted: “Salute to d Air Force for a meticulous operation. Our forces r world class anyway. It is d political will of our PM n team that made all d difference.” However, the RSS in its statement linked the Balakot strike to the Pulwama attack.
In a statement, RSS general secretary Suresh Joshi said, “The whole nation was upset and angry in the wake of the terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pulwama. Today, Indian Air Force demolished Jaish-e-Mohammad’s bases in Pakistan by specifically targeting them. This was translating into action the feelings of millions of Indians… In tune with Bharatiya culture, this action was carried out without causing damage to the Pakistani army and the citizens.”