Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has stated that no surgical strikes took place during the previous United Progressive Alliance government.
Parrikar’s remark are in contrast to the claims made by Congress which said that surgical strikes had been carried out in the past and that the then Manmohan Singh government never publicised such operations.
He said that he has been the defence minister for over two years and from whatever he has learnt, there was no surgical strike anytime earlier.
“What probably they [Congress] are quoting are actions taken by border action teams, which is a common practice across globe including the Indian Army,” Parrikar said at an event in Mumbai.
“In this, local commanders take positive action against opponents who have been troubling them to settle the score… it is not an official action approved by the government, these are called covert op without knowledge of anyone,” he added.
He said no covert military operation of the magnitude of the September 29 strikes had been carried out before.
Amid the accusations that the government is trying to appropriate undue credit for the surgical strikes across the Line of Control, Parrikar said that while the armed forces deserve “100 percent credit”, the government “must be cheered for the decision it took boldly.” He also said that even those doubting the surgical strikes took place can take credit for them.
“No one thought India could do something like this,” the Defence Minister said, stressing that the army was “given a free hand” by the government, which he praised for having “the guts to take decisions.”
He also said that the strikes have conveyed to Pakistan that there is “now no predictability with India…the next response may not be a surgical strike, it could be different.”
Parrikar’s comments were seen as a response to comments made by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who said the PM should present proof of the strike on seven terrorist camps in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir late last month. At the same time the minister also took on the Opposition who said the BJP is “taking advantage of the bloodshed of soldiers.”
According to experts, the “speed, surprise and skill” will shape the response to any major terror attack.