Accusing the BJP-led Union government of politicising the air strike on terrorist camps in Pakistan, senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for suggesting that the Rafale fighter planes could have altered the outcome. Prime Minister’s statement indicated an admission that the Indian forces had suffered a loss in the operation, he claimed.
“It is an absolutely shameful statement made by the PM. It is an insult to the brave pilots who risked their life flying old aircraft in the air strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan,” said Chavan while addressing the media.
The PM made the statement at an event of media organisation and was reported by The Indian Express, he said, “The PM making this statement means that the Union government was not satisfied with the action taken by the Indian Air Force (IAF). We condemn the statement and he should apologise to the Indian armed forces for making such a statement,” Chavan said.”
The international media was raising doubts on the claims made by the Indian government on the success of air strike, Chavan said. “The Indian Air Force has clarified that it was successful in its strike but can’t say anything on the death of terrorists following the attack. Pakistan as well as international media have said no casualties were caused, which means the Indian Air Force did their job perfectly, but it seems the coordinates (of the strike location) were not right. So, no proof of the damage,” he added. The RAW needs to investigate into the issue as we need to respond to the international media, he said.
Chavan said the entire opposition has stood united and extended support to the Union government for the military action against the terrorists in Pakistan after the Pulwama attack. “Thus, the PM should stop politicising the military action. He holds a constitutional position and should refrain from doing so,” he said. He added that BJP chief Amit Shah was also going all out in making big claims of the military action.
In fact, the military action was still in the progress and the entire country was paying homage to the martyrs of Pulwama attack, while the PM was holding political functions, which could have been avoided, Chavan said.
The Congress leader also took on the BJP over allegations that the Congress had delayed the purchase of Rafale aircraft. “The Congress government had followed the entire process of getting Rafale aircraft. It is the BJP-led government during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee that delayed the process for three years and now in the tenure of Modi five years have been lost,” he said.
Chavan said the Indian Air Force had taken time to complete the technical process for the purchase of Rafale aircraft during the Congress rule and if the BJP is questioning that delay then it was raising doubts against the Indian Air Force.
He alleged that the delay by BJP in procuring the Rafale aircraft and reducing the number to 36 as against the demand of 126 aircraft was just to get in Anil Ambani-led firm as offset partner in the deal.
The Egypt and Qatar governments have already placed orders to purchase the Rafale aircraft, which means that delivery of the same to India would be delayed further, Chavan said.