Parliament’s panel lauds forces, asks for photos of attack
Parliament’s panel on foreign affairs on Friday lauded the efforts of the government and the armed forces during the recent tension with Pakistan but some members also wanted to know why the government is not providing photographic or other evidence of how Indian jets damaged terror infrastructure and wiped out terrorists during their strike inside Pakistan on Tuesday morning.
Members of the panel also suggested to foreign secretary Vijay Gokhle that New Delhi must go all out to explain to the international community the reasons behind India’s decision to pound the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp inside Pakistan.
According to a few members who spoke on condition of anonymity, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhle read out from the same text he read out on Tuesday while briefing reporters, hours after the air strike. When asked about media reports questioning India’s success in eliminating terrorists and terror infrastructure in the air strike, he chose not to give any detailed reply but said that the defence ministry would be in a better position to explain the issues.
When some members asked why the government has not released photographs of the attack by Indian fighter jets, Gokhle pointed out it is not in his purview to speak on this specific issue.
The briefing included the MEA’s assessment of the Pakistan prime minister’s tenure so far, one of the members said.
The foreign secretary also told the panel that an attempt by the Pakistan Air Force on to target military installations in India was unsuccessful as it was thwarted by the Indian Air Force, which shot down a Pakistani fighter jet but lost one of its own in the process.
A second member said the foreign secretary detailed the diplomatic measures that the ministry has taken, right from immediately after the Pulwama attack to the ensuing air strike, and efforts thereon to seek out the international community to brief them about the issue.
Foreign Secretary Gokhale assured the committee that diplomatic overtures to the international community were still underway.
He also informed the members on how India got the support of the members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the issue.
In a major diplomatic achievement, India on Friday for the first time addressed the OIC meeting in Abu Dhabi where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is a guest of honour.
Pakistan boycotted the plenary session of the OIC meet to protest India’s participation there.
(With PTI inputs)