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Took decision for Balakot as 'game' should be played from where terror being controlled: PM

twitter-logoPTI | March 31, 2019 | Updated 21:03 IST

(Eds: Adding quotes) New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he took the decision to go ahead with the air strikes in Balakot in Pakistan as he thought that "the game" should be played from where terrorism is being controlled. Addressing a 'Main bhi Chowkidar' event, he said Pakistan is in a fix because if it acknowledges the air strikes, it will have to accept that there was a terror camp there. "They have been saying that there are no terror camps. Now they have to hide it. They are not allowing anybody to go there since the last one and a half months. We've been told by some people that the Balakot area is being reconstructed by Pakistan to show that a school is being run there, so that people can be taken there and be shown that no terror camp existed there," he said. Those abusing Modi on the air strikes are helping Pakistan with their statements, he said. The prime minister was speaking at the event that was beamed across the country at 500 places where gatherings of BJP workers, professionals, chowkidars (watchmen), traders, farmers among others will listen to Modi and interact with him through video-conferencing. "I could take the decision on Balakot because I have faith in my armed forces. I gave them a free hand because I have confidence in their discipline that they can do no wrong," Modi said. "What was the thinking behind the decision? We have been suffering due to terrorism for the last 40 years. Who commits this sin, where is the remote control, everybody knows it. Where are the masters of the terrorists sitting is known. They come and kill and go," he said. Citing an example of the Mumbai and Uri terror attacks, he said terrorists come, kill and leave. "...then I decided that from where this is controlled, the game will be played there. The playing field will be theirs," he said. Modi said Pakistan has started opening its airspace after the air strikes, believing that he is busy with elections. "For me, the election is not priority, but the country is priority for me," the prime minister said. "The attack was on such a place where it is known that terror camps were being run by Pakistan. Pakistan does not have a problem with how many were killed but with the stamp that they were running these terror camps," Modi said. Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian Air Force fighter jets bombed terror group JeM's training camp near Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed. PTI VIT SLB ASK AAR

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