Congress attacks government for contradictory statements on surgical strikes

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday hit out at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the BJP-led government, saying their claims of the Indian Army having conducted the first ever cross-LoC surgical strikes had been contradicted by none other than Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar.

The Congress attacked the Narendra Modi government for denying that surgical strikes-like military operations had taken place in the past.

The Congress attack comes a day after Jaishankar informed Parliament’s Standing Committee on External Affairs about surgical strikes having taken place in the past too.

Parrikar had last week rejected Congress’ claims that surgical strikes were conducted during the UPA rule and maintained that the September 29 cross-border strikes were undertaken for the first time by the country.

Asserting that the Congress never doubted the September 28-29 surgical strikes, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned the silence of Prime Minister Modi on the BJP’s continued bid to politicise the action.

“The government shouldn’t deny that this (surgical strikes) happened before. While we support the operation, they should be magnanimous enough to say that this is not the first time that this country has conducted these strikes. We are only saying acknowledge the fact,” Singhvi told the media here.

He said that Jaishankar in “precise terms” said that surgical strikes have happened before. “We have no reason to not believe his precise assertions,” said Singhvi.

“Does it look good for the Defence Minister of this country to be directly contradicted by none other than the Foreign Secretary?”

“Which one of them is prevaricating? The Foreign Secretary has spoken in measured and precise terms,” said Singhvi.

Singhvi quoted Jaishankar as saying that “professionally done, target-specific, limited calibre counter-terrorist operations” have been carried out across the LoC in the past too, but this is for the first time that the government has made it public.

“We do not have any reason to disbelieve this precise terms. What the defence minister is saying and the government is saying are totally different,” said Singhvi.

He said such “prevaricating” to score brownie points paints the nation in a bad light.

“While the Prime Minister joins us in saying this issue shouldn’t be politicised, it’s happening under his nose by his colleagues. He himself goes to Lucknow during Dussehra, talks about Israel,” the Congress spokesperson said.

He also raised the issue of BJP posters across Uttar Pradesh “politicising the strikes”.

Singhvi also took pot shots at the BJP leaders for attributing the strikes to the RSS.



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