New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday vowed to punish the forces behind the deadly Pulwama attack that killed 40 soldiers on Thursday, and said India’s security forces have been given full freedom to chalk out a retaliation.
Modi said this at the inauguration of India’s first semi-high speed train called Vande Bharat Express from the New Delhi railway station.
Modi sought the blessings of the martyred soldiers before he flagged off the trains.
Condoling the deaths, Modi said: “I pay tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in Pulwama attack. Our security forces have been given full freedom. We have full faith in their bravery. The forces behind this act of terrorism and those responsible for it will definitely be punished.”
“I thank all nations who have supported us and condemned this incident in the strongest of terms. A strong reply will be given to this attack,” warned Modi. “If our neighbour, who is totally isolated in the world, thinks it can destabilise India through such tactics and conspiracies, then it is making a big mistake,” he added.
In a hard-hitting speech, Modi said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism would be definitely punished. “Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling... Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,” Modi said.
On Thursday, an explosives laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.
Making it clear that India means business, the Cabinet Committee on Security met on Friday morning and withdrew the ‘most favoured nation’ status to Pakistan.
This would enable India to increase customs duty on goods coming from the neighbouring country.
India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996, but the neighbouring country has not yet reciprocated.
Briefing reporters after the CCS meeting, which is unusual, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all efforts would be made to ensure that perpetrators of the attack are brought to book. He said those aiding and abetting the perpetrators would have to ‘pay a heavy price’.
Jaitley said the Ministry of External Affairs will launch an all out effort to isolate Pakistan and all diplomatic efforts would be launched in this regard. Home Minister Rajnath Singh would be visiting Srinagar on Friday and would convene an all-party meeting most likely on Saturday to brief political parties on the incident so that the nation speaks in one voice on the issue. “My condolences to families of those martyred in Pulwama attack, those behind the terror strike will pay a very heavy price," Modi said.
“I am thankful to all nations which condemned Pulwama attack and urge them to come together to crush terrorism. The forces behind this act of terrorism and those responsible for it, will be definitely be punished,” he said.
Appealing to his critics to not politicise the tragedy, Modi said the attacks have left the country emotional. “I understand the sentiments of those criticising us but I urge them that it is an emotional time, so stay away from political one-upmanship,” he said.
(With agency inputs.)...