A nationwide alert was issued on Friday after intelligence inputs on possible attacks by Pakistan-based terror groups in the country in retaliation to the Indian Army's surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security scenario with top officials of his ministry and central police organisations at a meeting attended, among others, by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.
In an advisory to states, the Home Ministry said additional forces should be deployed in all sensitive places, strategic installations, markets, religious places and other key places to ensure security. The Central government has asked the metro cities to be extra vigilant. Sources said border states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat have been asked to be extra vigilant as there were reports that some terrorists might have crossed over to India during last one month and could retaliate in view of "surgical strikes."
Rajnath Singh held separate meetings with the chiefs of Central police organisations including National Security Guard (NSG), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and CISF. Sources said the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been asked to intensify security at all industrial units, airports and other locations. The Border Security Force has been asked to increase the number of personnel deployed at sensitive posts along Pakistan border.
The surgical strikes were carried out early Thursday on seven launch pads by the Indian Army which said it inflicted "significant casualties" on the terrorists and those who supported them. Indian Army sources said on Friday that one of the soldiers involved in surgical strikes received "minor injury" during ex-filtration. They said the video clips of alleged casualties on the Indian side being shown by the Pakistani media were "doctored".
The Pakistan cabinet also met on Friday amid heightened border tensions with India. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Islamabad wants peace in the region but "we will not allow anyone to cast an evil eye on Pakistan". Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Friday warned that any "misadventure" by India will be met with the "most befitting response".
Pakistan has insisted that there have been no "surgical strike" and only firing and artillery shelling between the two armies across the LOC. However, Afghanistan on Friday backed India on the surgical strikes, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking "bold decisions" in the fight against terrorism. In Islamabad, Sharif said after a meeting of his cabinet that Kashmir was an "unfinished agenda of the partition of the sub-continent" and accused India of "atrocities".
Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations also issued a statement and said Gen Raheel Sharif had asked all commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness. "Pakistan can't be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda," he said. He said that "highest" state of vigil was being maintained along the LoC and all along the International Border.
Modi also got more domestic backing with Delhi Assembly passing a resolution hailing the Army action and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also praising him. The government continued to take steps to meet any escalation in situation on the border with Pakistan. Around 400,000 people have been moved to safer places from border towns of Punjab.
Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Bulandshahr and praised Modi for the surgical strikes. Gandhi, a staunch critic of Modi, said the whole country and the Congress was with the government. "I want to thank him that for the first time in two-and-a-half years, he has taken action which befits the stature of PM. He has my full support," Gandhi said.