Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the military's ability to conduct "surgical strikes" against Pakistani insurgents in Kashmir was on par with Israeli forces, according to Indian daily The Hindustan Times.
“Our army’s valor is being discussed across the country these days," Modi said during a rally honoring retired and serving soldiers in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi District.
"We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this. The nation has seen that Indian army is no less than anybody,” he added.
Modi made the comments in light of a recent clandestine operation conducted by the Indian military that saw multiple Pakistani militant bases in Kashmir destroyed last month.
The strike was in response to an deadly attack allegedly conducted by Pakistani militants on Indian forces stationed on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri that left 19 soldiers dead.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir as part of their territory in a hotly contested land dispute that has three wars fought since the partition of India in 1947.
Israel's security forces are considered to be among the best in the world, renowned for its operational acumen and efficiency, especially in regards to its covert capabilities.
Indian-Israeli relations have historically been icy, but with Modi's rise to power in 2014 relations between the two nations have considerably improved.
Modi’s close ties with Israel date back to his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat wherein he expanded trade relations between the two countries to include partnerships in solar power, pharmaceuticals, water management, water recycling plants, agro-research and advanced agriculture technologies. Israel emerged as a key partner in facilitating Gujarat’s tremendous economic growth under Modi’s leadership.
Even though India’s defense, security and economic relations with Israel have been on the upswing since the 1990s, Modi has been credited with elevating the strategic dimension of India-Israel partnership by bringing relations “out of the closet.”
The Modi government has, however, denied assertions of a “fundamental departure” from its support to the Palestinian cause, which is a core feature of India's foreign policy. Kanchi Gupta contributed to this report.
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