New Delhi: Under fire from the opposition over escalating ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said India has responded to the aggression with courage and lamented public debate on the issue for political gains.
"When bullets are being fired on the border, it is the enemy that is screaming. Our jawans have responded to the aggression with courage," Modi said at an election rally at Baramati, the turf of NCP chief and former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar.
"The enemy has realised that times have changed and their old habits will not be tolerated," he said.
He slammed those targeting the government on the issue through a public discourse, saying it demoralised the jawans fighting on the border.
"Such an issue should not be part of a political debate. Elections will come and go, governments will come and go, but please don't demoralise those fighting on the border by debating these things for political gains," he said.
"People know my intentions and I need not express those in words. Where the jawans have to speak, they speak with their finger on the trigger. And they will continue to speak that way," he said.
Targeting Pawar, who had criticised him for holding poll rallies in Maharashtra when there was tension on the border, Modi said, "When you were the defence minister, there were problems with Pakistan and China on the border. Did you ever bother to go to the border then?"
"There have been terror strikes in Maharashtra during your tenure... Mumbai, Malegaon, Pune. You could not even reach the terrorists, leave alone catching them. In the spirit of patriotism, we never politicised the issue," he said.