India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said war becomes inevitable at times -- a loaded statement in the context of the high-tension border conflict with nuclear-armed Pakistan the country is engaged in.
"Compulsions of time and requirements of a situation can render war unavoidable," the right wing Hindu nationalist party leader said in his first comments after India breached the Line of Control to launch surgical strikes inside Pak-controlled territory to take out militants.
Modi's carefully chosen reference to war -- albeit tempered down by invoking sacred religious texts -- came even as Indian forces were engaged in conflict with cross border militants who took hold of a government building in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The fight to neutralize terrorists holed up in the Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Pampore, on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, entered the third day on Wednesday.
The latest flare-up between the hostile neighbors followed an attack on Indian barracks at a border post by militants who infiltrated from Pakistan.
India accused Pakistan of running a proxy war on it using a multitude of Pak-origin terror outfits, but Pakistan countered the charges by saying it had no role in the attack on Uri army camp that killed 19 Indian soldiers.
Days later, New Delhi retaliated by launching a high precision cross-border operation inside Pak-occupied Kashmir, killing scores of would be infiltrators and running through what it called were terror launch pads.
Modi was speaking at the historic Aishbagh Ramlila, a major religious gathering on the occasion of the Dussera national holiday, which invokes the victory of virtue over evil.
Devotees throughout India celebrate Dussera marking the victory of Lord Rama over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader made references to Hindu epic Mahabharata and sacred text Ramayana to demonstrate exceptions to the peace mantra.
"Both Krishna and Ram had to fight wars. But we have been able to transcend the reliance on war and evolved into a people who instead prefer peace."