‘Modi must expose Pak lies’: After Kejriwal, Cong asks for proof of surgical strike

NEW DELHI:The Congress asked the government to put forth “credible” evidence of last week’s surgical strikes, carried out by the army across the Line of Control, to “expose” Pakistan which has denied any such action. Congress’ senior spokesman Anand Sharma also sought to dismiss the claim that the surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads was the first such retaliation by the Indian Army, insisting that it had responded earlier too “as per the need or provocation”. Asked about Aam Aadmi Party’s demand that the Centre put out a video of the surgical strikes, Sharma said Congress does “not have slightest doubt” about what the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) said after the operation.

At the same time, he said, Pakistan is attempting to mislead its people by claiming that no such attack had taken place. In this backdrop, it would be necessary for the Prime Minister to “expose” Pakistan by putting forth credible evidence about the surgical strikes on the intervening night of September 28 and 29. The announcement about the action was made by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh at a press conference in New Delhi.

“The government must expose Pakistan’s denial. It has all the tools and instruments to do so,” he said, adding the Modi dispensation has backing of the entire political leadership.

He said that the Indian Army had carried out such strikes in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The only difference this time was that the government of the day has taken the “political ownership”, he said.

Sharma, a senior minister in the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, said, “In the wisdom of the UPA, the political ownership of such actions of the army was not considered necessary.”

Insisting that the Armed Forces have always responded as per “the need or provocation” when it came to defending the motherland, he said, “The thinking that this is the first time Indian Army has retaliated against a terror attack is not correct. It is a disservice to our forces.” Noting that neither the Prime Minister nor anyone else has said that “our armed forces were dormant and sleeping in the past”, he said the details of the earlier actions are there with the defence establishment. “In the past, these decisions were taken by the Army,” he said.

Sharma said Pakistan has been “exposed but not isolated” in the wake of the surgical strikes and referred to the joint operation carried out by Russian Special Force near Gilgit within 48 hours of the Uri terror attack.

Earlier, Kejriwal asked Modi govt to show proof. “Last week our army showed valour and avenged the deaths of 19 soldiers killed in the Uri attack. I may have differences with the Prime Minister over a 100 issues. But when he has shown the will (to deal with this matter), I salute him,” he said.

This is perhaps the first time that Kejriwal, who has been critical about the Modi government and its Pakistan policy, has come out praising him. On the day of the strikes, the Delhi Chief Minister had hailed the army, but there was no word of praise for Modi.

A day later, he had told the Delhi Assembly that is time to stand with the Centre and the differences between them can be sorted out later.

Claiming that Pakistan has gone “berserk” after the strike, Kejriwal said, it is resorting to smear campaign against India at international fora and this has to be countered.

“It has resorted to playing dirty politics. Since the last two days, Pakistan is taking international journalists to the border and trying to show that surgical strikes never took place.

“Two days back, the United Nations gave a statement that there was no such activity on the border,” he said.

“My blood boiled over these news reports (of the international media). Pakistan is indulging in smearing India’s image at the international level.

The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “has not directly observed” any firing along the LoC, UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said on September 30 against the backdrop of the surgical strikes conducted by India.

“I appeal to the Prime Minister that the way he and the Army taught Pakistan a lesson on ground, he should also unmask the propaganda by Pakistan at international level. The whole country is with you. I also appeal to the countrymen not to believe in the false campaign by Pakistan,” he said.

With Agencies