Speaking in public for the first time on the recent surgical strikes Prime Minister Narendra Modi has likened the daring attack by Indian army across the LoC to Israel’s famous exploits. Hailing the army for the brave effort he pointed out that the Indian forces had shown they were no less than anybody.
“Our Army’s valour is being discussed across the country these days. We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this. The nation has seen that the Indian Army is no less than anybody,” Modi said. Israel is known for its targeted military strikes against enemy countries and militant outfits.
Modi was speaking at a rally in Himachal Pradesh, where he inaugurated three hydro-power projects. The issue of surgical strikes had snowballed into a political row, with the Opposition accusing the BJP and its government of “milking” it for political benefits. The charge has been rejected by the BJP, which has insisted that it is taking the issue to the masses to boost the Army’s morale and highlight the strong political will of the Prime Minister.
Underscoring his commitment to the welfare of armed forces, Modi said his government had fulfilled its promise of ‘One-Rank, One-Pension’ for ex-servicemen, an issue which, he said, was hanging fire for over 40 years.
The previous governments, he said, duped the people by making tall claims and some of them even allocated Rs. 200 crore-500 crore in this regard but never did an analysis of the cost burden and how it could be executed.
“I did it and was puzzled to find that the economic burden kept rising. It worked to be more than Rs. 10,000 crore,” he said, adding that it was difficult for any government to make such a big allocation in one go.
Modi said he spoke to the armed forces and offered to release the money in four installments to which they agreed.
“Over Rs. 5,500 crore in first installment has been given. The rest will be given too. A promise hanging fire for the last 40 years has been fulfilled,” he said.
At the ‘Parivartan Rally’, Modi also targeted Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, saying BJP chief ministers dedicated themselves to causes like drinking water and roads while the Congress leader was concerned about his own welfare.
“Do I need to explain what the current Chief Minister is known for?” he said and then added, “When the BJP gave chief ministers, somebody dedicated himself to water, somebody to roads but when others came they dedicated so many things for their personal welfare,” he said.
The BJP has accused Singh of being involved in corruption but the Congress leader has rejected the charges and claimed that he was a victim of “political vendetta”. Elections are due late next year in the State.