Indian forces are eliminating terrorists in their home turf under a strong Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre, ​Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed ​on Thursday, reported PTI.

The remark came a week after The Guardian reported that the Indian government allegedly assassinated at least 20 persons in Pakistan since 2020 as part of a new strategy to eliminate terrorists living on foreign soil.

Speaking during an election rally in Uttarakhand, Modi said on Thursday: “Enemies took advantage and terrorism spread whenever there were weak and unstable governments in the country.”

The prime minister said that a “weak” administration led by the Congress during the United Progressive Alliance governments was unable to strengthen India’s borders.

The Guardian had claimed in its report to have seen documentation allegedly tying India’s Research and Analysis Wing to the killings of Indian dissidents in Pakistan, which are said to have been orchestrated by sleeper cells based in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistani officials have accused these cells of paying millions of rupees to local criminals or poor Pakistanis to carry out the assassinations.

The Ministry of External Affairs denied the allegations to The Guardian, reiterating an earlier statement against Pakistan’s allegations and terming them as “false and malicious anti-India propaganda”.

However, Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh said in an interview with News18 on April 5 that the Indian government would not hesitate to carry out extra-territorial killings of terrorists “who flee to Pakistan”.

“If any terrorist tries to disturb the peace in Bharat, or tries to carry out terror activities in Bharat, we will respond fittingly,” Singh said. “If any terrorist flees to Pakistan, we will enter their house and kill them.”

In an election speech a day earlier, Modi had referred to the Indian Air Force’s air strikes against a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on February 26, 2019, in response to the Pulwama attack.

“Today, the world also knows that Modi’s new India enters people’s homes to hit them,” said Modi.

Answering a question about the prime minister’s remark in relation to the allegations made in The Guardian’s report, Singh told News18: “This is India’s strength. We are now capable of doing that and Pakistan has also started realising this.”

In response, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said the Indian government “habitually resorts to hateful rhetoric to fuel hyper-nationalistic sentiments, unapologetically exploiting such discourse for electoral gains”.

“India’s assertion of its preparedness to extra-judicially execute more civilians, arbitrarily pronounced as “terrorists”, inside Pakistan constitutes a clear admission of culpability,” the ministry said in a statement. “It is imperative for the international community to hold India accountable for its heinous and illegal actions.”

In January, Islamabad said that it had “credible evidence” linking “Indian agents” to the assassination of two of its nationals, Shahid Latif and Riyaz Ahmad. The two, associated with terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, were wanted terrorists in India.

The United States and Canada have made similar allegations accusing India of carrying out or plotting extra-territorial killings against Indian dissidents.

The United States has said that it foiled an alleged plot to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil last year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told his Parliament in September that his country’s intelligence agencies were pursuing “credible allegations” linking agents of the Indian government to the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.