Agra: A week after surgical strikes, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday, “In matters of the country’s defence, I can think tedha (wily).”
The minister’s remarks were made at a BJP rally in Agra in Uttar Pradesh, which votes soon for its next government. Later, he will move to Lucknow, where posters at the BJP headquarters feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Defence Minister along with praise for the army for the surgical strikes conducted in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
Yesterday, PM Modi warned ministers that there must be no “chest thumping” about the military action and urged them not to speak out of turn.
“It was a 100% perfect strike,” said Mr Parrikar about the cross-Line of Control raids, claiming, “even when bigger nations do surgical strikes , they don’t get so much success” and that the government has no need to release evidence of the action, as demanded by political parties like the Congress, a point that has commissioned a national controversy.
Refuting criticism from political opponents of trying to gain political mileage from the army’s operation, Mr Parrikar said any felicitation he witnesses is not aimed at him but at the army and the “leadership of the Prime Minister.” He also said, “Someone said that I am a straight-forward (seedha-saadha). I think the Defence Minister should not be straight when it comes to ensuring the safety of the country.”
On Dussehra next Tuesday, PM Modi will also break with tradition by participating in celebrations not at Delhi’s famous Ramlila grounds, but in Lucknow, where he will set fire to a massive Ravan effigy symbolising the “demon of terror”.
The organisers claim that the message is linked to the surgical strikes conducted by the army.