After a controversy over Indian Air Force’s Balakot strike casualties and evidence being demanded by some political leaders, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has spoken at length and said that ‘it was a successful operation and must not be mixed with elections.’
While answering about a specific question on the number of casualties in the Balakot strike, Sitharaman said, “The Foreign Secretary didn’t give a figure. He gave a statement. That is the Government of India’s position.”
Adding to her statement, Defence Minister further said about the Indian Air Force strike, “There is no relationship between the airstrike and elections. It was based upon intelligence inputs on terrorist activities in Pakistan, to be unleashed against India. It was not a military action.”
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on IAF #AirStrike: There is no relationship between the airstrike and elections. It was based upon intelligence inputs on terrorist activities in Pakistan, to be unleashed against India. It was not a military action. pic.twitter.com/P48pfqQPPi— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2019
India had earlier said that the IAF strike a the terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir’s Balakot was a “pre-emptive non-military strike” targeted at the outfit of Pakistan based JeM.
Nirmala Sitharaman added that “We, including the previous governments, have been constantly saying that terrorism is emanating from Pakistan. This has been going on for a long time. These terrorists are coming from Pakistan to attack us. Not only us, the UPA government too had been giving proof to Pakistan on terror training camps in Pakistan and that we should not come under attack from them.”
Mentioning about Pakistan’s ignorance of evidence provided by India, in the 26/11 Mumbai attack, Pathankot air base attack and now Pulwama blast, Defence Minister said that ‘Pakistan has never punished any terrorists through its courts.’