Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday took a jibe at the Congress and termed the appointment of Lt General (retired) D S Hooda as the party’s task force head as a “belated and grudging recognition and acceptance” of the September 2016 when Indian troops carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control following the Uri attack.
“I am sure the Head of the Advisory Panel would educate the Party leaders that the surgical strikes were no routine step which had been taken several times in the past, but a significant first for India,” Jaitley wrote on Facebook.
In a post titled ‘What it’s Advisor must tell the Congress party on national security’, the senior BJP leader mocked the grand old party over the “need to be educated on national security”. “The party which has ruled the country for over half a century should need to be educated on national security concerns is somewhat intriguing,” he said.
On Thursday, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had met the former Army commander to discuss the formation of the task force and its working with a select group of experts to chalk out effective strategies to guard the border, days after 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terror attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jaitley also claimed that the entry of an “experienced and distinguished former officer of the Indian Army” will only help give “valuable advice to the grand old party”.
While the minister admitted that the induction of Hooda into the party would help educate its leaders, he, however, highlighted out a few “basic essential” points related to national security.
Urging Congress to refrain from “striking a discordant note,” he said the party must “not give an impression to the world that India is divided on how to fight terrorism”. “Do not trivialise a serious national concern on terrorism as has been done by the Congress Spokespersons in the past two days,” he said.
“Next time if extremists and separatists raise slogans on how to break India (the JNU incident), no one from mainstream parties should pay a supporting visit to them. There is no freedom of speech to advocate a breakup of India,” he added.
Asking the party to not “politicise defence procurement on false and imaginary facts” for political gains, Jaitley said It hurts defence preparedness.”
“Politicians of any shade of opinion should not get into slanging match with any of the services personnel or their Chief. The Chief of a Force can’t be described as a ‘Sadak ka Goonda’,” the Union minister said.
“When our intelligence agencies conduct anti-insurgency operations along with the security forces (e.g. Ishrat Jahan case), do not let lose investigative agencies on the intelligence and security network of India,” he added.