Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sensationally claimed that he had warned Pakistan of dire consequences if it did not release the Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
This is the first time that Modi has made this claim implying that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement to release Abhinandan under pressure from India. Addressing a poll rally at Patan in his home state Gujarat, Modi said that ‘we conducted a press conference and warned Pakistan that if anything happened to our pilot, you will keep telling the world that Modi did this to you.’
“A senior American official said on the second day that Modi has kept ready 12 missiles and might attack and the situation will deteriorate. Pakistan announced to return the pilot on the second day, else it was going to be qatal ki raat (night of massacre)” Modi was quoted by news agency PTI.
The Wing Commander was captured by the Pakistani military on 27 February after his MiG 21 was engaged in a dogfight with a Pakistani F-16.
Two days later, Imran Khan addressed the joint session of his country’s parliament, where he announced that his country was releasing Wing Commander Abhinandan as a peace gesture.
Facing huge anti-incumbency against his five years of governance, Modi has been relentless in making plenty of references to the armed forces and the Hindutva agenda. This, according to experts, is primarily to polarise his core constituencies of right-wing Hindutva supporters in this year’s Lok Sabha polls.