On the evening of June 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first ever sitting Prime Minister of India to grant an exclusive interview to a private news channel. Speaking to Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, PM Modi answered a host of questions ranging from foreign policy to economy.
But it was his answer to Goswami’s question on Pakistan that actually cleared all doubts over India’s reaction to the terrorist attacks launched from the safe havens offered by its pestilent neighbour.
Recalling their interview on May 8, 2014, when Modi had not yet become the PM, Goswami reminded the PM of what he had said back then. “In the 8th May interview, you put forth a very interesting phrase, you said ‘Can talks be heard amidst the noise of bombs, guns and pistols?’ Do you believe we have been too generous towards Pakistan?” Goswami asked. To this Modi told him that India has always wanted peace with its neighbours and that both New Delhi and Islamabad should focus on fighting poverty rather than each other.
But in a reminder to Pakistan, the PM said that while the political brass will continue to pursue peace, Indian soldiers are free to defend the country in whichever manner they feel best.
Praising the armed forces, the PM said that the jawans are performing exceedingly well. They have been risking their lives and continuously thwarting the plans of terrorists and mounting pressure on them.
When Goswami pointed at how terrorists from Pakistan attacked Patahnkot mere eight days after PM Modi met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Modi acknowledged that there are “different forces operating in Pakistan”.
His remark was a reference to the well-established fact that the Pakistani Prime Minister is actually powerless on many matters especially those concerning defence and foreign policy – the control of which lies in the hands of the army chief.
It is a known fact that Pakistan’s ISI backs the terrorists that attack India, and ISI has never been in control of the democratically elected government of Pakistan.
Modi said that India engages with “a democratically elected system” in Pakistan. “Our effort for that engagement is continuing. But our supreme objective is peace. Our supreme objective is to protect India’s interests,” he said.
At the same time Modi cautioned India’s enemies that the armed forces will not sit back silently at transgressions.
Throwing more light on the growing India-US ties, Modi said that the world is now fully aware of India’s position on matters such as terrorism. “The world is unanimously appreciating India’s position. And the world is seeing that Pakistan is finding it difficult to respond,” he said. He highlighted that the world is increasingly acknowledging that India has indeed been suffering because of terrorism that has also caused losses to humanity.