- PM said those involved in Pulwama attack will have to pay a "heavy price"
- PM Modi, Arun Jaitley and others attended a top level security meeting
- Arun Jaitley said the centre has decided to ensure Pakistan's isolation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today warned that those responsible for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed would pay a "very heavy price" and had made a "big mistake". In hard-hitting comments at an official event, PM Modi said security forces had been given a free hand to act against terror.
"I want to tell the terrorists and their backers... they have made a big mistake. You will have to pay a very heavy price... I assure everyone that the forces behind the attack... we will bring them to justice," PM Modi said in Delhi after chairing a top level security meeting with senior ministers. He made the remarks before flagging off the Vande Bharat Express, India's fastest.
Later, at a public meeting, the Prime Minister said: "Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response... This is an India of new convention and policy."
Shock, grief and outrage have engulfed the country after the deadly attack on Thursday in which a terrorist rammed buses in a security convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway with a car carrying 60 kg of explosives.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting that the government had decided to take all possible diplomatic steps to ensure Pakistan's isolation and had withdrawn Most Favoured Nation status to the country. "Those who were involved and supported the incident will have to pay a very heavy price," said Mr Jaitley.
"There is a lot of anger, people's blood is boiling at what happened... I understand," the prime minister said in his remarks on the terror attack.
"The neighbouring country, if it thinks it can destabilize India, it can forget it. That will never happen," he said, adding, "We will give a fitting response to this attack."
He also called for all parties to stand united and rise above politics. "I urge everyone it's an emotional and sensitive time. Whether in the government or opposition, we must stay away from politics. The country is together. Our unity will be a big factor in defeating the enemy."
The Prime Minister also referred to "big nations" who had condemned the attack and supported India. "When all countries come together, terrorism will not survive for long."
The attack, he said, was an outcome of Pakistan's desperation as it had been forced to go to different countries with a "begging bowl" to meet even its daily expenses.
The US, in a strong statement, has called on Pakistan to "immediately end support and safe haven to all terrorist groups".