Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a fresh attack at the Congress party after party’s overseas wing head Sam Pitroda raised questions over the Indian Air Force strike on a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Taking a swipe at the comments made by Pitroda, Jaitley trained his guns at Congress president Rahul Gandhi by addressing Overseas Indian National Congress chairman as his “tutor”.
“Mr Sam Pitroda said what we did was wrong. No country has said so. Even the OIC did not say so. Only Pakistan said so. If someone, who toes that line comes to this country and becomes an ideologue of a party, it very unfortunate for the country,” Jaitley told a press conference in New Delhi.
He said, “If tutor holds such views then what his student, I think, will do what the present student is doing.”
Jaitley said that India’s security doctrine has evolved under the Narendra Modi government.
He said the statement made by Pitroda is based on “erroneous premise” that “there is a distinction between the non-state actors and state actors in Pakistan”.
The Union minister said the non-state actors are “an extended limb” of the state actors in Pakistan. He said earlier Indian government’s policy was to “fight terrorists when they come to the country.” The security doctrine has evolved under the present government, Jaitley said, since the UPA regime ended in 2004.
“Now, we go and strike at the point of origin of terror,” Jaitley said adding this approach of the government has received support from the international community. He alleged that the ideology of the Congress would “India to fight terrorism with kid gloves and hands tied behind.”
Pitroda, earlier in an interview to news agency ANI, raised questions over air strike by the Indian Air Force at a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Citing reports in American press, Pitroda sought to know “facts” related to Balakot strike.
The Congress leader also questioned the policy of carrying out an air strike across the border in response to terror attacks in India. Pitroda said incidents like Pulwama terror attacks “happen all the time” and it is “naïve” to blame “an entire nation” (Pakistan) for the act of a few.
Jaitley responded to the comment saying, “Mr Sam Pitroda will be very high in TRP on TV in Pakistan today.”
Pitroda, who later clarified that he was not speaking on the behalf of the Congress party, created a fresh controversy on Friday morning drawing reactions from PM Modi, who posted a series of tweets to launch a counter-offensive on the opposition using “Janta Maaf Nahin Karegi” hashtag.
PM Modi said, “Loyal courtier of Congress’ royal dynasty admits what the nation already knew- Congress was unwilling to respond to forces of terror. This is a New India- we will answer terrorists in a language they understand and with interest!”
Another tweet of the prime minster read, “Opposition insults our forces time and again. I appeal to my fellow Indians- question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them- 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics. India stands firmly with our forces.”
The government and the opposition parties have traded charges in the election season over Pulwama attack and subsequent IAF strike on what was believed to be the biggest training centre of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot. The JeM owned up the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 killing 40 soldiers.
Mar 22, 2019 13:16 IST