Army briefs Parliament panel on surgical strikes
After initial reluctance, the Army on Friday briefed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence on the surgical strikes carried out by its men on terror launch pads inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
At least three members who attended the meeting said Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat briefed the Committee on the September 29 surgical strikes.
"A brief statement was made by the Army on the sensitive issue. But no questions were taken," a member said.
But another member from NDA said Congress' Madhusudan Mistry wanted to ask questions which was denied by panel chief Maj Gen B C Khanduri (Retd). "There was a heated exchange of words between the two ... no questions were finally taken," he said.
Earlier, the standing committee was to get "Briefing by the representatives of the Ministry of Defence on surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC)". But later, the agenda was changed to hearing by officials of the Defence Ministry, the Law Ministry and the Election Commission "on the status of implementation of E Postal Ballot System".
On Thursday, two senior Congress members Ambika Sonia and Mistry had dubbed the move to change the agenda as "high1y unacceptable".
"The decision not to brief the committee over surgical strikes under the garb of secrecy only amounts to 'lack of confidence' in the Members of Parliament, who are in the committee and who are bound by the oath of secrecy. This position is absolutely unacceptable to us," party General Secretaries Soni and Mistry had said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence Chairman B C Khanduri said that Vice Chief of Army Staff briefed the members of the committee, which was also attended by the Defence Secretary.
"Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat briefed the Committee on the September 29 surgical strikes which were carried out across LoC. It was an excellent briefing and he conveyed to us the reasons behind the operation," Khanduri said.
On a query that Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry was not allowed to ask questions during the meeting, Khanduri declined to comment on what transpired in the proceedings.
"Everybody must understand it was a briefing and not a discussion. The term referred to was briefing so it was not a question-answer session," he said. He said there are some things which cannot be in public domain.