Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
Bengaluru, 20 February 2019
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed Pakistan for having failed to act against terrorists despite evidences given to Pakistan since Mumbai terror attack. Sitharaman’s was responding to media dureing Aero India 2019 inaugural press conference asking for her reaction over Pakistan PM Imran Khan demanding evidences for blaming it for Pulwama suicide attack.
“Since the Mumbai attacks, not just this government but the earlier governments have also sent dossiers after dossiers, evidence after evidence. What action has Pakistan taken on them,” she said.
“India is following due process of law at every level. The courts have been approached and the Mumbai attackers have been given a due process and then punished. But in Pakistan, even the first court has not been completing its job. There is nothing for Pakistan to show that they have taken action on earlier evidence provided to them,” she added.
On question of Imran Khan having said that Pakistan will retaliate if India attacks it, Defence Minister said that she has heard the question but choose not to say anything in response.
While admiting but not revealing change in strategy in opearations in J&K, Nirmala Sitharaman said that Pulwama incident has not affected the morale of the armed forces.
“Morale is not affected at all. They are ready to do their job. The attack has not dented our armed forces’ morale. Don’t raise doubts over their performance” she said.
On response to Pulwama incident, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already given freedom to armed forces to choose response at will.
“I would not want to say how our government is going to respond to the attack as no word is sufficient enough to assuage the anger and disappointment of every person of the country. The Prime Minister has already said that forces have been given freedom to respond at any given time and as they see fit.”
She asserted that every effort will be taken to tackle to Pulwama like incident in future.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra, C-in-C Training Command Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development, Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Director General, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Dr G Satheesh Reddy observed silence to pay respect to Wg Cdr Salil Gandhi who laid down his life while practicing for airshow on Aero India 2019.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.