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‘If Pakistan hadn’t returned Abhinandan…’: PM Modi on tensions after Balakot

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took a jibe at NCP leader Sharad Pawar, saying if he is unaware of his next move, then how can Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gauge what he will do.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 21, 2019 18:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Narendra Modi,PM Modi,Abhinandan Varthaman
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses his supporters during an election campaign rally in Patan, Gujarat, India, April 21, 2019. (REUTERS PHOTO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said he had warned Pakistan of consequences if it had not returned Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

Addressing a poll rally at Patan in his home state Gujarat, he also took a jibe at NCP leader Sharad Pawar, saying if he is unaware of his next move, then how Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan can gauge what he will do.

Following the air strike at Balakot terror camp in Pakistan, there was a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani fighter planes on February 27 in which IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the neighbouring country.

Before his jet was hit, the IAF pilot downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. He was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.

Referring to it, Modi said after the pilot was caught, the opposition started seeking a reply from him over this. “We conducted a press conference and warned Pakistan that if anything happened to our pilot, you will keep telling the world that Modi did this to you,” he said.

“A senior American official said on the second day that Modi has kept ready 12 missiles and might attack and the situation will deteriorate. Pakistan announced to return the pilot on the second day, else it was going to be a “qatal ki raat’,” Modi said.

“This was said by America, I have nothing to say about this now, I will speak about it when the time will come,” he added.

Also read: IAF recommends Wing Commander Abhinandan’s name for Vir Chakra medal

Asserting his government’s commitment towards national security, Modi said whether the prime minister’s chair remains or not, he has decided that either he will be alive or terrorists will remain alive.

He also took a swipe at Pawar, who on Saturday said he was “terribly afraid” as to what Modi, who once called Pawar his mentor in politics, would do next.

“Sharad Pawar says I don’t know what will Modi do. If he is unaware of what Modi will do tomorrow, how will Imran Khan know? Modi said.

The prime minister also appealed to people of Gujarat to make the BJP victorious on all 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state, where polling will be held on Tuesday “It is the duty of people of my home state to take care of the ‘son of the soil’, give all 26 seats in Gujarat to me,” he said.

“My government will come back to power for sure, but if Gujarat doesn’t give 26 seats (to BJP), the TV discussions on May 23 will be why it happened?” he said.

First Published: Apr 21, 2019 13:47 IST

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