‘If only we conducted airstrike after 26/11 attack’: Nirmala Sitharaman
Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday fired a barb at the previous Congress-led UPA government for not responding to the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
Hinting that the armed forces had at that time also approached the government at the Centre to take action, she said that there are “enough reasons to believe” that the government did not take a call.
“If only a similar deterrent action (#airstrike) was taken after Mumbai attack... & I have enough reasons to believe that armed forces did tell the govt at that time, ‘if you want us to do something, we are ready but we want you to take the call’,” she said.
She was speaking at an event in Hyderabad. She was responding to allegations from the opposition parties over the politicisation of the Balakot air strike and the recent tension between India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, speaking at a separate event, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also spoke on the matter and hailed India’s diplomacy in getting Wing Commander Abhinandan repatriated to India within two days of his being captured in Pakistan after his MiG-27 was shot down in an aerial engagement across the Line of Control.
Referring to the airstrike conducted by the Indian Air Force on Jaish camps at Balakot in Pakistan, she said that Pakistan had conducted a retaliatory strike.
She said, “The next day (after the airstrike) Pakistan sent its planes to conduct a retaliatory strike. We shot down one of their planes, they shot down one of ours and captured one of our pilots. The success of India’s dilomatic prowess can be judged from the fact that we got our pilot repatriated within 2 days.”
The comments by both Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj came a day after Indian Congress chief Sam Pitroda raised questions about the airstrike after the Pulwama attack, which had led to criticism from the BJP.
“The most trusted advisor and guide of the Congress President has kick-started the Pakistan National Day celebrations on behalf of the Congress, ironically by demeaning India’s armed forces. Shame!”, PM Modi had tweeted.
PM Modi accused the Opposition of “insulting the forces time and again”.
“I appeal to my fellow Indians- question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them- 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics. India stands firmly with our forces,” he had written on Twitter.