IAF air strikes: Statements of Opposition hurt national interest, give smiles to Pakistan, says Jaitley
At a time when the entire nation was "speaking in one voice" and the public opinion "overwhelmingly supported" the government, the Congress tried to create a divide in the country's political opinion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley alleged on Sunday as he referred to the Opposition's reaction to the air strike carried out by the AIF on a JeM terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
"There are occasions in history where the nation speaks in one voice," Jaitley said citing Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s and the Jana Sangh’s support to the Indira Gandhi government during the 1971 war.
"Politicians and leaders rise to the level of statesmanship. They rise above narrow partisan interest, he said in a Facebook post. "However, like its other friends in the Opposition, the Congress Party refuses to learn."
The Union minister also questioned the joint resolution of 21 Opposition parties, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanding details on the air strikes and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement amid the Indo-Pak tension.
From the Congress and its friends, we have witnessed three recent statements, he said.
"In a meeting of the 21 Opposition Parties, a resolution was passed, accusing the Prime Minister of politicising the Pulwama and Balakot incidents. The government had twice taken the Leaders of Opposition parties into confidence. No evidence of politicization was given. The statement was inappropriate. It gave a handle to the enemy.
"The media in Pakistan used this statement of 21 Opposition Parties as a trump card. It took the statement as an endorsement of the Pakistani position that India had taken the Balakot action because of the compulsion of its domestic politics and not as a part of its policy to defend the country against terrorism."
"The West Bengal Chief Minister went a step further. She started doubting the veracity of the incident and wanted to know the operational details. The credibility of both the government and our Air Force is being doubted. Even Congress leaders have raised similar questions," he said.
The BJP leader said he was "most disappointed" with a brief but a "highly objectionable statement" of the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In his speech Singh implicitly doubted India’s right to defend its sovereignty from those who want to damage it through terrorism, Jaitley said adding that the veteran Congress leader mentioned poverty, ignorance and disease in his speech but violence and terrorism were of no consequence in his assessment.
"Seen collectively and cumulatively, the above three statements ought not to have been made. They hurt India’s national interest. Not only do they give smiles to Pakistan, they become an important instrument in Pakistan’s hands to discredit India," he said.
"Does the Opposition want the Air Force to release operation details of the Balakot attack? The Opposition is entitled to oppose and ask questions, but then restrain and statesmanship are also an essential ingredient of public discourse. I hope, India’s Opposition revisits its position and does not let down the nation," Jaitley added.
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