A standoff with nuclear rival Pakistan appears to have given Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a boost ahead of national elections set to begin in April.

After a suicide bombing killed 40 soldiers in Indian-controlled Kashmir, India’s air force launched a strike on an alleged terrorist training camp inside Pakistan.

The crisis has helped the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to turn attention away from its mixed record on the economy.

Conflicting government accounts on the damage caused by the Indian strike in Pakistan have given opposition parties more ammunition to attack Modi. But Modi has used their doubts about the strike to polish his own “strongman” credentials.