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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Surgical strikes like Israeli ops: PM

nationpaper Updated: Oct 19, 2016 11:57 IST

MANDI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed the Indian Army for hitting militant bases in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, comparing the offensive to covert operations by Israeli forces.

This is the first time that the PM has publically spoken about the September 29 surgical strikes which have been followed by a political slugfest, with the opposition accusing the government of trying to derive political mileage out of a military operation.

“Our army’s valour is being talked about across the country these days. We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this. The nation has seen that Indian Army is no less,” Modi said at a public meeting in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi.

Israel’s military and secret service are considered to be among the best in carrying out covert operations against militants in foreign territory and assets of “enemy states”.

Modi paid his respects to serving and retired soldiers, many of whom were in the audience, referring to the hill state as “Veer Bhumi” (land of the brave). Himachal is one of the states that send a significant number of young men to the army.

Modi also credited his government for resolving the issue of equalising pension payouts for retired soldiers, which he said were pending for 40 years.

“One rank one pension budget was estimated to be more than Rs 10,000 crore. It was difficult for any government to make such big allocation, so I requested the soldiers be paid the pension in four instalments,” he said.

“Over Rs 5,500 crore in the first instalment has been given. The rest will be too. A promise hanging for the last 40 years has been fulfilled,” he said.

The lighting strikes on militant camps in PoK were India’s first military response to an attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri by suspected Pakistani militants that left 19 soldiers dead.

Lauding the contribution of Himachal Pradesh to the defence forces, Modi said: “In Himachal, at least one member of a family serves the defence forces. Himachal is not only ‘devbhoomi (land of gods) but also ‘veerbhoomi’.

Earlier, Modi inaugurated three hydel power projects in the state, which is due for assembly elections late in 2017.

The Centre, he said, was committed to stepping up expansion of rail network in Himachal, which is still largely being serviced by tracks laid by the British.

Modi said his government was committed towards expanding the slowly moving rail projects in the state.

The Prime Minister expressed serious concern over the slow pace, saying the Bhanupalli Bilaspur Beri rail line was pending for the last 10 years, while the Nangal Talwara rail project that was conceived 35 years ago was yet to see the light of day.

First Published: Oct 19, 2016 11:57 IST

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