New Delhi   -  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew sharp criticism on Sunday after he disclosed that his decisive ‘go-ahead’ prior to the Balakot strike was based on the presumption that clouds and rain would help Indian jets escape radar detection.

A video that went viral on Twitter shows the Indian prime minister talking to Indian TV channel News Nation about the airstrike India conducted in Pakistan in February.

“I first reviewed the operation at around 9-9:30 PM. The problem we faced was that of bad weather. It had rained heavily that day. I am amazed people who criticised me didn’t take notice of this fact.”Modi, then, explained how his inputs helped execute the operation. “At around 12, we had second thoughts about the entire thing,” he said, adding, “We had doubts if we would be able to go in the clouds.”

Modi did acknowledge that he was not an expert: “During a review (of the Balakot plan), by and large the opinion of experts was – what if we change the date. I had two issues in mind. One was secrecy... second, I said I am not someone who knows the science. I said there is so much cloud and rain. There is a benefit. I have a raw wisdom, the clouds can benefit us too. We can escape the radar. Everyone was confused. Ultimately I said there are clouds... let’s proceed.”

On February 26, Indian Air Force jets bombed an alleged militants training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan downplayed the severity of the Indian airstrike, saying its own warplanes had chased off the Indian aircraft, which had released their “payload” in a forested area, causing no casualties and no serious material damage.

On Sunday, the Indian opposition wasted little time in attacking. “On PM Modi’s radar and clouds comment, it seems no one clarified for the PM how radars work,” said Salman Soz, a Congressman. “If that is the case, then it is a very serious national security issue. No laughing matter!”

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Modi’s words were “truly shameful” because they “insult our Air Force as being ignorant and unprofessional”.

Indian National Congress member @drshamamohd tweeted: “PM #Modi risked the lives of our IAF pilots by authorising airstrikes in bad weather because he believes radars can’t detect planes in cloud cover. Would you vote for a man who compares our armed forces to playing video games?”

The PM’s comment was also met with criticism and derision on social media.

Tweep @VishalDadlani posted: “.@narendramodi ji some humble advice from a citizen. Science is real. Please consult someone qualified before you speak, so you don’t embarrass India in the eyes of the world. At least until results are announced, you’re our PM. Have some concern for how India is regarded.”

And @rupasubramanya tweeted: “Modi tries so hard to grandstand but ends up scoring a self-goal by revealing he doesn’t know jets can’t hide behind clouds to escape radar. Pakistan is laughing... Embarrassing.”

National Conference chief Omar Abdullah took to Twitter and made light of Modi’s claims.

In an acerbic tweet, Abdullah wrote: “Pakistani radar doesn’t penetrate clouds. This is an important piece of tactical information that will be critical when planning future air strikes.”

Radar is an acronym for Radio Detecting And Ranging. Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain.