Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that he had warned Pakistan of consequences if it did not return Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. He said a “senior American official” had said India was “ready with 12 missiles”, and there would be a “qatal ki raat” (night of murder).
Addressing a poll rally here in Gujarati, Modi, while referring to the Balakot air strike, said: “The second day, Pakistan thought to experiment in order to please their people, so they flew their aircraft. But we immediately did a dhamaka and destroyed one of their aircraft… They trembled… Our pilot was caught, they thought they got something by chance. So they (Opposition) said what about our pilot’s life, they forgot about this major attack a day before… But in the afternoon we said at the press conference, Pakistan beware, if our pilot is harmed, then don’t tell the world what Modi did to you,” he said.
“On the second day, America’s one spokesperson had issued a statement, America’s President had issued a statement, that India would do something big. A top man in America had issued a statement that Modi was ready with 12 missiles. That the situation was serious, so it was good that Pakistan announced the return of the Indian pilot, or else it would be a ‘qatal ki raat’ (night of murder). America said this, I don’t have to say much now, I will speak when the time comes,” said Modi.
After an aerial action near the LoC in J&K, which thwarted Pakistani air strike on Indian military targets on February 27, Abhinandan was taken captive by Pakistan inside PoK. Announcing the IAF pilot’s release, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had told his Parliament the next day that the two countries were close to missile strikes the preceding night but that situation was averted.
Modi seemed to confirm reports, which had been earlier denied by official sources, that India had threatened to launch 12 missiles against Pakistan if it did not return Abhinandan. Click here for more election news
Indian official sources had then said that Pakistan was whipping up a war psychosis and there was no truth to these reports. With Modi mentioning an American official who said that India was going to fire 12 missiles, the reports about a third party mediation also seem to have been confirmed.
It was earlier reported that a top Indian intelligence official had threatened DG, ISI of Pakistan with the missile strikes. PM Khan had told the international media that it had informed the international community, particularly the permanent members of the Security Council, that Pakistan would retaliate to Indian strikes. This led to international intervention with frantic midnight calls from American officials to Delhi and Islamabad.
Modi said today that the Balakot air strike was something people expected from him. “When Pulwama happened, what did the country expect Modi to do? Would you, would the country have pardoned me had I done what the Manmohan Singh government did after 26/11,” he asked.
“They (Pakistan) made tight arrangements, but being worshippers of Lord Hanuman, our people conducted the air strike and their story was over,” he said. “I have decided that whether this (PM’s) chair remains or not, till the time I am alive, there will be no terrorism,” said Modi.
Modi also took a swipe at NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who, on Saturday, said he was “terribly afraid” as to what Modi would do next. “Sharad Pawar says I don’t know what Modi will do. If he is unaware of what Modi will do tomorrow, how will Imran Khan know?” he said.
“We are moving ahead with the promise to make India strong across land, water, air and space,” Modi said, adding that the country was now capable of destroying a satellite. “They (opposition) had problem with this also, saying the Model Code of Conduct was in force. Do we need a code of conduct for this? We are people who follow rules, but national security is a very important matter, and what India did made it the fourth superpower in the world… Though they are not asking for proof, they are asking what about the debris of the satellite, as if they have to run a kabaadi shop,” he said.
Modi urged the people of Gujarat to help the BJP win all 26 Lok Sabha seats in his home state, where polling will be held on Tuesday, and said if this does not happen, then there will be discussions on TV over it on the day of vote counting.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines