NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said India had called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff in recent cross-border air strikes that almost triggered a new war between the nuclear-armed rivals. Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have made national security the focus of their campaign for a national election now being held.
The prime minister claimed at an election rally that an airstrike inside Pakistan in February had shown that warnings the hostilities could escalate into nuclear conflict were ‘false’.
“Pakistan has threatened us with nuclear, nuclear, nuclear,” Modi told the rally in Held Kashmir. “Did we deflate their nuclear threat or not?” he asked the crowd that chanted “Modi, Modi, Modi” in response.
Modi renewed his warning to Pakistan that ‘his new India’ is capable of ‘eliminating terrorists in their homes’.
Modi also vowed that India will never give up its claim to Kashmir, which is disputed between the two countries, and has been the cause of two wars between the neighbours since their independence in 1947.
He also attacked opposition parties who he said were working to ‘separate’ Kashmir from India. The BJP has sought to use security to lead its election campaign amid a surge of nationalist sentiment since the airstrikes.