Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday asked Indians to "stand as a wall" with anger boiling over Pakistan's capture of a pilot as a crisis escalates between the nuclear-armed rivals.
In his first remarks since India and Pakistan both claimed to have shot down each other's fighter planes near the disputed border of Kashmir, the prime minister urged his countrymen to unite "as the enemy seeks to destabilise India".
"In the face of their objective, every Indian should stand as a wall, as a rock," Modi said.
"The entire country is one today and standing with our soldiers.”
However, Modi and his party, the BJP, were roasted by the opposition for their continued focus on the coming national elections that are due by May.
The PM had a video interaction with party workers yesterday that was billed by the BJP as the biggest ever. The opposition parties, which have postponed their election-related programmes following the escalation in hostilities with Pakistan, said the BJP was using the sacrifice of soldiers for its political interests.
The opposition pitch rose after senior BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa said India's air strike on the Jaish-e Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan on Tuesday has created a wave in favour of PM Modi and will help the party win over 22 of Karnataka's 28 seats in coming elections.
Yeddyurappa said he was quoted out of context, but the Congress -- which had postponed its working committee meeting scheduled for today -- accused the BJP of "counting seats" when the nation is anxious to secure the release of the captured pilot.