New Delhi: In a strong warning to Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday declared those responsible will pay a “very heavy price” and said the security forces have been given a free hand to decide on the timing, place and nature of their response to the carnage that left 40 CRPF men dead.
The MEA held a briefing for envoys of 25 countries, including from the P5 nations — US, China, Russia, the UK and France — during which it highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Before the briefing, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to his South Block office and issued a very strong demarche over the attack and asked Islamabad to take “immediate and verifiable action” against JeM.
According to sources, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has also been called to Delhi for consultations in the wake of the horrific attack.
Protests against Pakistan broke out in several parts of the country, including in Jammu city where curfew was imposed amid demands for retaliation against Pakistan.
In a hard-hitting speech in the national capital, Modi said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism will definitely be punished. “I want to tell the terror outfits and those aiding and abetting them that they have made a big mistake. They will have to pay a very heavy price for their actions. Let me assure the nation that those behind this attack, the perpetrators of this attack will be punished,” Mr Modi said at a function to flag off the Vande Bharat Express, India’s fastest train from Delhi to Varanasi.
He said the security forces have been given “complete freedom”. “Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling...Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally is in a state of illusion, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,” Modi said.
Addressing a public meeting in Jhansi later in the day, the prime minister again did not name Pakistan but said the attack was an outcome of its desperation as it is in a bad shape and has been forced to go to different countries with a “begging bowl” to meet even its daily expenses.
Asserting that the sacrifices of CRPF soldiers will “not go in vain”, he said, “Security forces ha-ve been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response... This is an India of new convention and policy.”
The remains of the 40 CRPF personnel were kept in coffins, draped in the Tricolour.