Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the country is in “safe hands”, just hours after the Indian government said it had carried out a “non-military pre-emptive strike” targeted at the “biggest training camp” of Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.

“It is such a moment that we should salute our bravehearts, bow to them,” the prime minister told a gathering of ex-servicemen in Rajasthan’s Churu, according to the Hindustan Times. “I assure you that the nation is in safe hands.”

Without making a direct reference to the overnight strikes by the Indian Air Force across the Line of Control, Modi said: “There is nothing more important than this country.”

The prime minister, while recalling that he pledged to protect the country when he took office in 2014, said he will not let his country down. “In 2014 I had said and repeat it again… Saugandh mujhe is mitti ki, main desh nahin mitne dunga, main desh nahin rukne dunga, main desh nahin jhukne dunga [I vow that I will not let the nation be erased, I will not let the nation stop, I will not let the nation bow down].”

Modi said he sensed a fervour in the crowd. “The reason I am able to work like this is because of your support, your trust... and let me tell you this... that we are a government that thinks a group is bigger than an individual, and the nation is bigger than any group,” Modi said, according to NDTV.

Also read – IAF strike on Pakistan: What is a ‘non-military preemptive action’?