Rahul made these remarks, which fundamentally change the narrative on the surgical strikes, came at a press conference at Jhajjar Kotli enoute to his Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. He, in fact, has come out openly in support of the surgical strikes.

With this denunciation of statements made by Digvijay Singh , Rahul Gandhi has positioned himself as a leader for whom the national interest comes first. He, in a very clever way, stated that he supported the army, and never asked for proof, aligning himself with the valour of soldiers and their actions.

Two surgical strikes were mounted, one in September 2016, when Pakistani terrorists attacked army camp in the north-western Kashmir town of Uri, along the Line of Control, killing 20 soldiers. The soldiers had crossed the LoC and destroyed the terror camps. The second surgical strike was in retaliation to the February 14, 2019 terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. In February 2019, Indian Air Force had crossed the international border and bombed the terror training camp in Balakot, Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa, deep inside Pakistan.

The surgical strikes had altered India’s counter-terrorism approach. It was no longer defensive. It transformed into offensive – giving more than befitting reply to the acts of terror. The net result was that Pakistan could not mount any major terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, or in the rest of the country, after these surgical strikes. Pakistan had become aware of the fact that there was punishment waiting for it if it ventured into acts of terror on Indian soil.

Politically, the nation had become confident that its leadership was capable of handling the tough situations with the toughness needed to counter terrorists and their mentors across the border.   This also came into sharp comparison to the Indian government’s response in the wake of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. The then UPA government led by Manmohan Singh was accused of inaction, as it did not take any action against Pakistan. Instead, it had entered into dialogue with  Pakistan.

Rahul Gandhi, who was Congress General Secretary that time, also faces criticism because of the inaction of the government in 2008. Now, by supporting the surgical strikes by the army, he is adopting a similar stand as is the government of the day, but at the same time, he is making it clear that he is no less nationalist and supporter of the army action ( of surgical strikes) than the men in power at this time.

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