Following a rare cross-border attack conducted by the Indian Army in Myanmar, Junior Minister for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that based on intelligence “we will carry out surgical strikes at the place and time of our own choosing”.
“Western disturbances will also be equally dealt with,” the information minister said during a press briefing on Wednesday when asked if attacks could be carried out on the western (Pakistan) border, according to a report published on IBNLive.
The statements came after the minister lauded the Indian Army and Air Force for their operation in Myanmar that killed 20 terrorists on Tuesday.
“Our PM ordered hot pursuit in which two camps were completely annihilated. While the army carried out the strike, helicopters were on stand-by,” he said.
Rathore asserted that attacks on Indians are unacceptable and based on effective intelligence
The minister added that the operations were a message for all neighbours of India who harbour terror groups.
“Friendship and zero tolerance will go hand in hand. This is a beginning. India is strong. This message should go to everyone,” he said.
The minister also hinted that the operation against Myanmar’s northeast terrorists has altered India’s strategy in dealing with such groups.
“I think it was the need of the hour as well, the entire nation wanted it and that’s perhaps a reason why they voted a strong government at the Centre. It had become like a habit [for terrorists]. It is not like a ‘kushti’ match that if you go back into your area nobody will catch you. This message is very critical that we will strike you wherever you are,” he said.
Rathore referred to the surgical strike inside Myanmar as an “unprecedented” and “extremely bold” step by the Indian government.
“Myanmar is a friendly nation and therefore there was complete cooperation, if the need required” Rathore said when asked whether the operation had support of the Myanmar government and army. The minister added that the operation was carried out by the Special Forces “entirely on their own.”
India has long blamed top Pakistan for stoking a revolt in Muslim-majority Kashmir as well as giving material support to militants for attacks in other parts of India, including a bloody 2008 assault in the city of Mumbai.
Pakistan denies the accusation and says it is fighting militants.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long advocated a tough stance towards Pakistan including the option of hot pursuit of militants. Since coming to power Modi has sought to ease tension but ties remain fragile.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said last month that his Indian counterpart’s recent statement about sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism had confirmed “our assertions of Indian involvement in terrorist activities on Pakistani soil”.
He had said the statement of Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was a blatant admission of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan.
Last month, the military’s top brass accused the Indian intelligence agency RAW of supporting terrorism in Pakistan. RAW has often been blamed by law-enforcement agencies for being involved in subversive activities in Pakistan.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had also said the Indian intelligence agency is involved in various terrorist activities across Pakistan.
Chaudhry added that the matter had been taken up “a number of times” at the highest level with India through diplomatic channels.