Hours after TV channels aired footage of the September 2016 surgical strikes, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the Congress should realise their “mistake” of casting aspersions on the action of the Indian armed forces.
The rebuttal from Parrikar, now Goa chief minister, came after Congress today accused the Modi government and the BJP of politicising the surgical strikes after a video of the same was released.
Soon after the strikes, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, known for making controversial statements, had questioned the authenticity of the government’s claim of carrying out surgical strikes against terror launch pads along the line of control (LoC) in Pakistan.
“I feel they (Congress) should realise their mistake. I dont know whether (an) apology is (the) right word for it. They should be very careful while commenting on the issues of national interest and armed forces,” Parrikar told Times Now news channel.
Asked if Congress should apologise for doubting the authenticity of the surgical strikes, Parrikar said, “A very small political point to be scored, cannot be at the cost of the nation and the armed forces.”
“To score a point (by) raising questions about the surgical strikes was actually demeaning to our armed forces,” said Parrikar, who resumed work as Goa CM earlier this month after returning from the United States where he underwent treatment for a pancreatic ailment for three months.
“I feel that these kind of doubts could be expressed by people who do not consider nation first and the strength of our armed forces. It is demoralising to the armed forces,” he said.
“The exercise(strikes) was carried out by our armed forces and the credit goes to the armed forces. But you cannot deny the credit to the political leadership which took the strong decision,” Parrikar said.
The surgical strikes was an “extensive operation which was carried out after extensive planning and preparations,” he said.
Giving credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parrikar said “it (surgical strikes) could happen (only) because (of) the leadership of the prime minister (which) was very crucial.”
“It is very easy to say about such actions when they are successful. If there was some loss of life, I think it could have been a very damaging thing,” he said.
Parrikar said it was a “courageous and strong leadership which took this decision and the prime minister supported the decision right from day one.”
On the toughest part of the decision-making process to conduct the surgical strikes, Parrikar said, “for me, while making the decision, PM’s support was there but the toughest part was what if this escalates, if this goes out beyond the intended limited operation and if there is retaliation, then what.”
“We had to prepare ourselves for any eventuality. The planning does not talk only about the small operation but detailing about complete fall out in case something goes wrong,” he explained.
Whatever is being shown on TV channels is a “small part” of the evidence, Parrikar said. “What you (media) have shown is a very small part of the evidence. There is much more to it and (it was) much detailed operation,” he added.