India has unveiled a memorial for the 40 troops killed in a suicide bombing in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir a year ago on Friday. The incident sparked a tense standoff that brought the region to the brink of war.
Tributes to the servicemen that lost their lives in the February 14, 2019 attack in Kashmir’s disputed Pulwama district were led by PM Narendra Modi and other top government, as well as military, officials.
“They were exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to serving and protecting our nation. India will never forget their martyrdom,” Modi tweeted early Friday morning.
Denouncing the bombing as a “dastardly attack,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that India “will never forget their sacrifice.”
Entire nation stands united against terrorism and we are committed to continue our fight against this menace.
The message was echoed by Home Minister Amit Shah, who tweeted that the Indian people “would be forever grateful” to those who “made supreme sacrifice for the sovereignty and integrity” of the nation.
India’s Central Reserve Police Force, which the slain servicemen belonged to, vowed to avenge their deaths, tweeting: “WE DID NOT FORGET, WE DID NOT FORGIVE.”
A special memorial that features plaques for all 40 soldiers was unveiled two kilometers from the site of the attack.
The February terrorist attack fueled tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, bringing the two nuclear-armed powers almost to the point of a major military conflict. Retaliating to the attack by the hardline Islamist Jaish-e-Mohammed group, India struck what it claimed was the militants’ training camp on Pakistani territory. Islamabad, however, vehemently denied allegations that it was harboring terrorists.
The flare-up escalated into intense cross-border shelling and culminated in an aerial dogfight that saw an Indian jet being downed and its pilot captured by the Pakistani military.
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