With the Indian Air Force (IAF) launching a daring strike against terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on early Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept his words to retaliate the Pulwama terror attack in a befitting manner.
As many as 40 CRPF jawans were killed in an attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14 when an explosive-laden vehicle was rammed into their convoy of 78 buses, carrying 2,500 jawans from Jammu to Srinagar.
Just after the terror attack, which left the nation numbed, Prime Minister Modi assured the nation that the martyrdom of Indian soldiers would be avenged. "I want to tell terror organisations and their mentors that they have made a big mistake," he said on February 15.
Asserting that those behind the attacks must be brought to book, Prime Minister Modi said while flagging off the T18 train here on February 15 that the anger among soldiers, in particular among the CRPF, is being shared by the country. "Therefore, the soldiers have been given a free hand," he said.
Addressing a public meeting in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh on February 15 he reiterated that the sacrifice of martyrs will not go waste, and those behind Pulwama terror attack would be punished, a resolve which he shared with the people in his address to a rally in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, on February 16.
"It is time to maintain restraint. It's the time of sensibility. It's the time of mourning, but I assure every family that each drop of tear would be compensated," Prime Minister Modi had said.
Prime Minister Modi displayed his resolve again at Patna on February 16, where he stated that "India does not provoke anyone, but if someone provokes India then we don't spare anyone."
In a joint press conference with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri on February 18 in New Delhi, he underlined the need for the whole world to unite and initiate concrete steps against terrorism and its supporters.
"Any hesitation in initiating action against the supporters of anti-humanity forces also amounts to promoting terrorism," Prime Minister Modi had said, the point which he reiterated in Kashi on February 19 too.
On February 20, after signing MoUs with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Modi stressed the need for destroying terror infrastructure, eliminating support to terrorism and bringing terrorist and their custodians to book.
Two days back on February 24, Prime Minister Modi reiterated his resolve to wipe out terrorism from the country in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme. Referring to Pulwama terror attack, he stated that there is outrage in the country over the killing of jawans.
Briefing the press about IAF strikes on JeM targets, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in New Delhi on Tuesday morning: "In an intelligence-led operation in the early hours of Tuesday, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot."
"In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis, who were being trained for fidayeen action, were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, chief JeM," said Gokhale.
"Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary," he said.
"The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. Hence, this non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp," he said.
"The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in the thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details," he said.