WASHINGTON: A week after India carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that “India used to take conventional steps earlier… our government has taken a serious step forward which is different from earlier governments.”
After initially praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision to order the cross-border strikes, the Congress has claimed that while it was in power, similar raids in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir had taken place but had not been publicised.
The opposition has also asked the government for proof to “call Pakistan’s bluff,” a strategy criticised by military experts who say it undermines the army. The government has said that by infusing a matter of national security with politics, the opposition is placing itself on the same side as Islamabad, which has flatly denied the raids which, according to the army, inflicted “serious casualties” on seven terrorist launch pads or gathering areas.
“Every terror incident around the world has a Pakistani footprint,” said the Finance Minister on an official trip to the US. “Brand Pakistan identifies itself with terror,” he said, pointing to Islamabad’s “isolation” with more than half of the member countries of SAARC joining India’s boycott of a session of the regional summit that was to be held in Pakistan next month.
Before the military action, India launched a global campaign to corner Pakistan at international platforms like the United Nations. PM Modi is also reviewing trade and water-sharing agreements with Pakistan to pressure its government. He has called, this week, for his ministers to steer clear of “chest thumping” by bragging about the raids in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, which Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar described yesterday as “100% perfect.”