IAF air strikes: Cong making a fool of itself, govt not obliged to give proof, says Hardeep Purihttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/iaf-balakot-air-strikes-congress-making-fool-itself-govt-not-obliged-proof-hardeep-puri-5618647/

IAF air strikes: Cong making a fool of itself, govt not obliged to give proof, says Hardeep Puri

Responding to allegations of the Congress that the Centre was "politicising" the issue, he said no one doubted the air strikes carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF) and that the government was not obliged to give any evidence.

“The Pakistani authorities have still not given foreign press access to that area. This should itself provide people the proof. I feel very sorry for those who are insisting of making a fool of themselves,” Puri said.

Taking a dig at the Congress, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri Saturday said the opposition party was making a fool of itself by asking for proof of the Balakot air strikes. Responding to allegations of the Congress that the Centre was “politicising” the issue, he said no one doubted the air strikes carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF) and that the government was not obliged to give any evidence.

“The Pakistani authorities have still not given foreign press access to that area. This should itself provide people the proof. I feel very sorry for those who are insisting of making a fool of themselves,” Puri said. “Those who are accusing us are representatives of a political party which ruled India for most of the 70 years and became victims of the doctrine of strategic restraint which means that because we are nuclear power, we cannot defend ourselves,” he said in an apparent reference to the Congress.

The Housing and Urban Affairs minister was speaking at the inauguration of an Urban Observatory here. The observatory looks at intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has demonstrated through the surgical strikes and the recent IAF air strikes that “we have the means to go 100 km inside a territory”.

Forty CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) terrorist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into their bus on February 14 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The IAF hit back by targeting a training camp of JeM in Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated the strike next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations.

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Puri said in the air strikes, more than 80 per cent of precision-guided ammunition hit the target. “We went in there, got the (JeM) facility. We used aircraft and precision-guided ammunition which had the precise coordinates. More than 80 per cent of such ammunition hit the target and they had warheads with deep penetration which pierced through and exploded inside the target,” he said.

The minister added that it was imperative for the empowerment of communities that cities work on using information available through various sources to improve their functioning, public services, governance systems, achievements and failures in the public domain. The Congress and several other opposition parties have accused the BJP of politicising the sacrifices of armed forces.

The Congress praised the Indian Air Force for the air strike, but demanded the government to give proof of the number of terrorists killed in the strike in Balakot. BJP president Amit Shah had said 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike.