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Saturday, December 07, 2019

What all could have happened if we had Rafale: PM Modi amid tensions with Pak

The Prime Minister's remarks come days after India and Pakistan were engaged in an aerial confrontation in Jammu and Kashmir, which saw both nuclear-armed countries downing a fighter jet each.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 2, 2019 10:41:19 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Today Conclave 2019 in the New Delhi on Saturday. (Twitter/@PIB_India) Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Today Conclave 2019 in the New Delhi on Saturday. (Twitter/@PIB_India)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India would have achieved much more if the country had the possession of Rafale aircraft. “The country has felt the shortage of Rafale. Today, India is speaking in one voice and saying what all could have happened if we had Rafale. Ego politics over the Rafale deal has harmed the nation,” the prime minister said while addressing the India Today Conclave 2019 in the national capital.

His remarks come days after India and Pakistan were engaged in an aerial confrontation in Jammu and Kashmir, which saw both nuclear-armed countries downing a fighter jet each. On Wednesday morning, the Pakistan Air Force’s intrusion into the Indian airspace was thwarted by the Indian Air Force (IAF). However, India lost a MiG-21 Bison and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control, was taken into custody by Pakistan Army. PAF violated Indian airspace a day after the IAF struck a terror camp deep inside Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terror attack. On Friday night, Abhinandan returned home via Wagah-Attari border after Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced that the IAF pilot would be released as a “gesture of peace”.

Taking on the opposition over the issue of air strikes in terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot, the prime minister said that while the entire world stood behind India in its fight against terror, “some parties” raised questions over it. “One of the challenges before the country is some people opposing their own country. When the entire nation today is standing with the armed forces, some parties are casting doubts on them,” Modi told the gathering.

Hitting out at this detractors, Modi said the Opposition is free to criticise him and his policies but their anti-Modi tirade should not help terrorists like JeM chief Masood Azhar and JuD head Hafiz Saeed. “In your stubborn desire to oppose Modi, see that you don’t end up strengthening terrorists like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed,” he said.

“These are the parties whose statements and articles are being used by Pakistan against India. In their fixation with criticising Modi, they are opposing the country and comprising its interests,” he added.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, Modi said, “Why is it that those who ruled the nation for so many years have so many defence scams in their era? If a deal could not happen, defence modernisation could not happen. Who is every middle-man close to? The entire nation knows. And Lutyens Delhi surely knows.”

The Opposition has been targeting the BJP-led government at the Centre over the Rafale deal and has been alleging corruption in Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group getting one of the offset contracts.

Modi also said there were times when questions were raised over his capability in dealing with foreign affairs, adding that the perception has now changed. “Before 2014, tv studios often held discussions on whether Modi has any understanding of global affairs. Going by recent developments, one can clearly see the role of India in global politics,” Modi said.

 

 

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