‘No surgical strikes during UPA regime’
Referring to the media reports and statements issued by the Congress party, Parrikar on Wednesday said in Mumbai, “I have been the Defence Minister for two years. From whatever I have known, there is no surgical strike from previous years. What they are quoting are actions taken by Border Action Teams (BATs). These are common actions across the globe and by the Indian Army,” Parrikar said rejecting Congress’s claims.
Explaining the concept, Parrikar said such operations are carried out without official order or prior sanction of the government. “It is done without the knowledge of anyone. The report is subsequently given,” the Defence Minister said underlining that the action is taken by the local commander for settling scores.
Differentiating between the strike carried out on September 29 last and the earlier actions, Parrikar said that unlike earlier, this time, it was a surgical strike because “decision was taken (by the government) and conveyed” and the Army did the job well. “This was an operation which clearly indicates the intent of the government and the nation,” he said.
Reacting to Parrikar’s statement, the Congress responded sharply and demanded an apology from Defence Minister, saying Congress governments had backed surgical strikes by the Army during the wars India has fought in 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1972. The statement issued by party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the Defence Minister was belittling the contribution of our soldiers who participated in earlier surgical strikes and Operation Ginger in 2011 and other operations in 2013, carried out during the UPA regime.
The Congress, while officially supporting the government over the strike, had said that similar operations were undertaken during its tenure also. Some other political leaders and parties too raised questions on the surgical strike and sought proof.
Defence Minister Parrikar, who spoke at two different functions in Mumbai on Wednesday, said that the major credit for the surgical operation should go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took the decision to carry out the strike and conveyed it to the Army, which Parrikar said, “did it job very well.”
Parrikar said all the 127 crore people of India, including “Doubting Thomases”, and the Army share and deserve credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party.
“I don’t mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party. So all Indians, including, those Doubting Thomases, can share the credit,” he said adding it (the statement) will settle the nerves of many.
The minister said he understands the sentiments of the people who are satisfied after the strikes. Parrikar countered the claim that the government wanted to take political advantage saying “If the government wanted to take political mileage out of this, then I would have announced it rather than the Director General of Military Operations.”