Cong goes to town, foreign secy says report not true
A war of words has broken out between the government and the opposition Congress over Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s briefing of a parliamentary panel on the recent surgical strikes inside the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Wednesday, reacting to media reports attributed to sources said, “Does it look good for the defence minister of this country to be directly contradicted by the foreign secretary of India?” senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked reporters in Delhi.
According to media reports, Jaishankar unlike Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told the committee that the army had carried out “target specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too but this was the first time the government had gone public about it.
Media reports claimed that Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar gave this information to the Parliamentary Committee on Exernal Affairs when he was specifically asked by MPs whether surgical strikes had been carried out in the past. However, on Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary’s office denied that Jaishankar had said anything to this effect.
“What FS said is that the key issue is that we went public after conducting the surgical strikes, conveying a politico-military message. Whether any previous crossings had been done only the Army would know. But it is irrelevant anyway because there was no message,” sources in the government said.
After the denial by the FS office, the news agency PTI, which initially ran the report about the parliamentary proceedings, reported that S Jaishankar had said that only the Army would be able to say whether cross-LoC surgical strikes were carried out in the past, as no “message” about such assaults were conveyed.