26/11 response would have averted Pulwama: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Pulwama terror attack would not have happened if a strong reply was given after the terror attack in Mumbai in November 2008.

He also noted that the aerial strike on a terror camp in Balakot was successful with Pakistan not allowing the media to visit the site for over 40 days.

Modi told Times Now in an interview that no patriotic Indian could afford to sit back after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

“If we remain silent at a time like this, then the perpetrators will get into the habit of thinking that the government is not strong and they can get away. If action had been taken after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Pulwama would not have happened,” he said.

Modi said no major terror incident has happened in the US after the 9/11 attack as their government showed strength.

“Whenever such incidents happened in the past in India, even when the Pandits were driven out of the Kashmir Valley, if strong steps had been taken at that time then we would not have faced 40 years of terrorism and lost thousands of soldiers. But at that time politics got in the way, vote banks got in the way,” Modi said.

Asked about people who link Balakot strikes with elections, Modi said it is a reflection of their thinking.

“They have never thought there is something called national policy which is much bigger than politics. This is beyond their understanding. I find it very painful to even descend into this kind of argument.”

He said the sacrifice of 40 jawans meant a new warning bell of danger.

“This had to be answered. I had decided after the Uri attack that now the time had come to carry out action where the terrorists get shelter and weapons and where they get their training. That is why on the very first day (after Pulwama attack) I gave a free hand to the Army,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the Balakot strikes were carried out very carefully and it was a successful operation.

“It boosted the morale of our armed forces. Now the terrorists will have to think 50 times before doing anything”.

Answering a query on ‘strategic restraint’, Modi said it means hiding shortcomings and the world respects the powerful.

Asked about suspicions about success of air strikes, Modi said it was Pakistan which announced that aerial strikes had taken place.

“If nothing had happened, why would they announce? Secondly, after the Uri surgical strike, Pakistan showed the media that nothing had happened within 24 hours, because in a radius of 250 km, any corner can be shown. It was easy. Why did Pakistan not let media visit the Balakot airstrike site for 43 days? Even today, ordinary citizens are not permitted to go there. Why is that?”

He said statements from Pakistan say they want to have talks but referred to its contradictory claims after the air strikes. “Why should we trust Pakistan?” he asked.