Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a nationally televised speech that in the last four months, Indian security forces have killed 110 terrorists who crossed over the cease-fire line in Kashmir from Pakistani territory.
“There would have been a bloodbath had they succeeded in carrying out attacks in India,” Modi said.
“We will isolate you,” Modi warned Pakistan. “I will work for that.”
Modi’s speech in the southern Indian town of Kozhikode was his first since 18 soldiers were killed in an attack on an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir last Sunday. Indian investigators say maps, weapons and other evidence indicated that the attackers were from Jaish-e-Mohammed, an outlawed militant group based in Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge.
“Let me tell Pakistan that the sacrifice of 18 Indian soldiers will not go to waste,” Modi said in his speech.
“There is one nation in Asia whose aim is to spread terrorism and is working toward ensuring that the 21st century does not belong to Asia,” he said, referring to Pakistan. “Every nation is holding only one country responsible for terrorism. Only one country in Asia is a safe haven for terrorists.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday evening that it would release an official reaction to Modi’s comments later.
The angry speech was expected, with many of Modi’s supporters and members of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party demanding that India hit back hard after the attack on the army base.
On Friday, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria denied any Pakistani involvement in the attack.
“They have a tendency of making such allegations whenever some incident takes place in India, especially in Kashmir,” Zakaria told state-run Pakistan Television.
Modi exhorted the people of Pakistan to eschew the path of violence and work to eradicate social ills such as poverty and unemployment.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents and pushing them into the Indian portion of Kashmir to attack government forces and other targets. Pakistan says it provides only political and diplomatic support to insurgents who have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.