BJP MP and former Army chief V K Singh Saturday questioned the Congress’ claims of conducting several surgical strikes during the UPA tenure. Alleging that the Congress has a “habit of lying,” General Singh asked, “Will you please let me know which ‘So-called Surgical Strike’ are you attributing to my tenure as COAS. Am sure you must have hired some Coupta to invent another story.”
It is to be noted that VK Singh was the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) from March 2010 to May 2012, and joined the BJP after retiring from the top rank. He contested from Ghaziabad and won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. During his tenure as Army chief, Gen Singh was also embroiled in a controversy over his date of birth with the Manmohan Singh government.
The statement comes days after the former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in an interview to Hindustan Times, said that multiple surgical strikes took place during UPA tenure too. “For us, military operations were meant for strategic deterrence and giving a befitting reply to anti-India forces than to be used for vote garnering exercises,” Manmohan had said.
Following the claims by the former PM, Congress spokesperson Rajeev Shukla gave details of six instances of surgical strikes under the Congress regime. “6 surgical strikes were conducted during the Manmohan Singh government. One was conducted on June 19, 2008 in Bhattal Sector in J&K’s Poonch, one from Aug 30-September 1, 2011 in Sharda Sector across Neelam River Valley in Kel, another one was carried out on January 6, 2013, at Sawan Patra checkpost; one on July 27 and July 28, 2013, at Nazapir Sector; August 6, 2013, at Neelam Valley; and one on January 14, 2014,” Shukla had said.
Cross border operation and surgical strikes have emerged as a poll plank in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, with the BJP pushing a narrative around nationalism.
On Friday, PM Narendra Modi also questioned his predecessor’s claims asking, “What kind of strikes were these of which neither the terrorists knew, nor Pakistan knew, or even Indians didn’t know about? When the surgical strikes happened for the first time, they (Congress) refuted the claims saying ‘there is nothing like that. The army does this daily’. Only Congress can carry out surgical strikes on paper while sitting in an air-conditioned room.”