India needs 7-10 days to defeat Pakistan in war: PM Modi

Speaking at the NCC rally, PM Modi said that today the country is moving forward with ‘yuva soch’ and so, it carries out surgical strikes and airstrikes to teach terrorists a lesson in their own backyard.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the audience during the Annual National Cadet Corps (NCC) Rally 2020, at Cariappa Parade Ground, in New Delhi.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the audience during the Annual National Cadet Corps (NCC) Rally 2020, at Cariappa Parade Ground, in New Delhi.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 28, 2020 11:45 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said Pakistan has lost three wars against India, whose armed forces would need not more than “a week to 10 days” to defeat the neighbouring country in case of another war.

Speaking at the National Cadet Corps (NCC) rally here, Modi said Pakistan has waged a proxy war against India in Jammu and Kashmir for decades and killed thousands of people and security personnel but previous governments did not give the armed forces the permission to launch operations across the border.

“Many speeches were given but when our armed forces sought permission to take action, they were refused. But today the country is moving forward with ‘yuva soch’ (youthful thinking). So, it carries out surgical strikes and airstrikes to teach terrorists a lesson in their own backyard,” the PM said during his 45-minute speech.

He was referring to targeted operations against terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) in September 2016 and the Indian Air Force’s air strikes against terror bases in Pakistan’s Balakot last February — both swift actions taken after Indian soldiers and paramilitary personnel were killed in suicide attacks in Kashmir.

Modi said the two strikes led to peace not only in J&K but also in other parts of the country where no terror strikes had taken place. “Terrorism has been contained to a great extent,” he said.

India will mark the first anniversary of the air strikes on February 26. The strikes on terror bases of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were India’s response to last year’s Pulwama suicide attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.

Pakistan’s behaviour has changed after the two strikes as the neighbour realised that the Indian political establishment would not shy away from ordering cross-border operations in response to terror attacks, two senior military officers said asking not to be named.

Cross-border operations have been carried out several times in PoK, but the strikes of September 2016 and February 2019 were different because the political leadership took ownership of the action and announced India’s muscular military response to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism to the world. Also, the scale of the two operations, especially the airstrikes, was bigger than any previous raid.

On January 11, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said if the government ordered his force to seize control of PoK, it would act on those directions. “As far as PoK is concerned, there was a parliamentary resolution many years ago that the whole of erstwhile J&K is a part of India. If Parliament wants that area should be ours at some stage and if we get such orders, we will definitely act on those directions,” he said.

After the February 2019 strike, Pakistan said India “committed uncalled for aggression”, and vowed to respond “at the time and place of its choosing”. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country would respond to India’s move that, he alleged, put regional stability at stake. Amid escalating tensions, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa said back then that no one can make his country “budge through the use of threat or use of force”.

Former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) said the Indian military was capable of “breaking the will of Pakistan to fight against us beyond eight to 10 days”. He said the cross-border operations in 2016 and 2019 had a strategic effect in sending a strong message that India retains the will and has the capability to carry out strikes on Pakistan’s territory whenever required.

Talking about last year’s scrapping of Article 370 that granted special status to J&K, the PM said the article was introduced as a temporary provision but for decades no government showed the courage to remove it. “People were guided by self interest, political gains and vote bank politics.” .

The PM said Kashmir is the crown of India and solving the region’s decades-old problems was the government’s responsibility and it had done so. “Would we give India’s youth a Kashmir where terrorism thrived, where innocents were killed, where the Tricolour was insulted and the government was a silent spectator? No, never,” the PM said.

Speaking at another function, defence minister Rajnath Singh asserted that India was fully capable of giving a firm response to cross-border terrorism, and the strikes in 2016 and 2019 demonstrated the country’s firm resolve to defeat terrorism.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 12th South Asian Conference at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Singh reiterated the government’s stand that talks and terror could not go together and asked Pakistan to take steps against terror groups responsible for launching attacks on India from its soil.

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