Amid an onslaught of allegations that the government is trying to appropriate undue credit for the surgical strikes across the Line of Control, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said, “The major share (of credit) goes to the Prime Minister” adding that at most, he could claim a role in “decision-making ability and planning”.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi have said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his senior ministers are exaggerating the government’s role in the military action on September 29, which saw soldiers targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
PM Modi has asked his colleagues to show restraint and eschew “chest-thumping”; yesterday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that “the PM has proved to the world that India is not weak.” BJP president Amit Shah has said that while the army’s courage and execution was admirable, “the political will” of the PM is a big constituent of the success of the strikes, which he described as “100 percent perfect”.
The Congress has alleged that while it was in power, three cross-border raids were carried out, but that it chose not to publicize the military action to avoid the conflict with Pakistan from escalating, and to allow the army the secrecy required for sensitive operations.
Pakistan has denied the cross-border raids, accusing India of misrepresenting cross-border firing as extra-ordinary action. Opposition leaders including from the Congress and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have asked the government to demolish Pakistan’s claims by sharing evidence of the strikes, which were filmed. Top ministers say those calls for proof are tantamount to siding with Pakistan on a matter of crucial national security.
Mr Parrikar had controversially described Pakistan’s denial of the surgical strikes as the behaviour of “a patient still in anaesthesia after surgery”.