Political parties firmly back Modi govt over army’s surgical strikes

Updated on Sep 29, 2016 10:03 PM IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the party hoped Pakistan will recognise that it bears a great responsibility over the continuing cross-border terrorist attacks against India.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the party hoped Pakistan will recognise that it bears a great responsibility over the continuing cross-border terrorist attacks against India.
By, New Delhi

All political parties on Thursday firmly backed the Modi government on the “surgical strikes” across the line of control, India’s first military response to the Uri attack, and lauded the army for ensuring the country’s security.

A few hours after the army announced it had crossed the LoC early on Thursday and hit militants preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the government called an all-party meeting to brief the leaders about the raid.

Home minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting and also updated chief ministers of West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Bihar on the situation.

Ahead of the meeting, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj drove down to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence, sources said. She briefed the Congress leader on the series of lightning strikes that came 11 days after 18 soldiers were killed in by suspected Pakistani militants in Uri.

Read: Punjab border villages evacuated, no LoC trade after army surgical strike

“This is a strong message that conveys our country’s resolve to prevent further infiltration and attacks on our security forces and our people,” Gandhi said in a statement.

Her party supported the government in its actions to protect the country’s security and deal with the menace of terrorism from across the border, she said.

The same sentiments were expressed during the meeting by all sides. The ruling BJP said the strikes signalled the “rise of a new India”.

But, there was a word of caution too. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party is the BJP’s senior partner in the ruling coalition, expressed concern over escalation of hostilities. A confrontation could lead to a “disaster of epic proportions” for the border state, she said.

The home minister, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and director general of military operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh updated the leaders but didn’t share the details of the operation.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, a former defence minister, lauded the army for the “meticulous operation”. Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) praised the force for conducting raids past midnight in a difficult terrain. It showed the army’s “determination” and “will” to ensure the nation’s security, he said.

The government said it was monitoring the situation for a possible retaliation from Pakistan and also shared its security plan for border states.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was of the opinion that Pakistan would not escalate the situation.

In a statement, the CPM Politburo expressed hope that “now incidents like at Pathankot and at Uri” wouldn’t be repeated. It

also urged the government to continue with diplomatic and political moves to defuse tensions.

Party leader Sitaram Yechury was at the meeting, which was also attended by Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Mishra and Prem Chand Gupta of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The BJP chief Amit Shah, too, praised the army and also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. “Today’s strikes signal the rise of a new India where the government doesn’t get cowed down by nefarious designs of terrorists,” he said in a series of tweets.

Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal saluted the army. “Bharat Mata Ki Jai. The entire country is with the Indian Army,” he tweeted.

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    Aurangzeb Naqshbandi covers politics and keeps a close watch on developments in Jammu & Kashmir. He has been a journalist for 16 years.

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