Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid tribute to the 18 soldiers killed in a militant attack on an Army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing the public through his Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Modi said the country had faith in its armed forces and that those responsible for the attack will be punished.

Referring to the crisis in Kashmir, the prime minister said that peace and unity was the road to progress in the country. He added that the security of the state was the government’s responsibility, which was taking steps to ensure the same. The process of life returning to normal in the state had started, he said.

Modi praised the performances of medal-winning athletes from India at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He said the government will “empower” athletes with disabilities. He also announced the two-year anniversary of his government’s Swachh Bharat programme, saying 2.5 crore toilets had been constructed in the country so far, with plans to build 1.5 crore more in the next one year.

Modi’s remarks came a day after he said that one nation was responsible for spreading terrorism in Asia. In a significant move, Modi in yesterday’s speech took to addressing the people of Pakistan directly, and said the country could not handle its own regions like Baloch and Gilgit, but had attempted to interfere with India’s policy with regard to Jammu and Kashmir. Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad have worsened after the attack, with both sides accusing one another of interfering in the other’s policies.