Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday criticised the Opposition for the statements made following the Indian air strikes against a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
“These statements made by opposition parties hurt India’s national interest,” Jaitley tweeted. “They give smiles to Pakistan and become an instrument in Pakistan’s hands to discredit India’s operation against terrorism.”
Jaitley said public opinion had “overwhelmingly supported” the government and the Indian Air Force’s execution of the strike.
The Union minister cited the joint resolution of 21 Opposition parties, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanding details on the air strikes and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement amid the India-Pakistan tensions.
Opposition parties had issued a joint statement on February 27, saying they were anguished over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices made by Armed Forces by leaders.
Jaitley said the statement was inappropriate. “No evidence of politicization was given,” he said in a Facebook post. “The statement was inappropriate. It gave a handle to the enemy. The media in Pakistan used this statement of 21 Opposition Parties as a trump card.”
On Mamata Banerjee demanding that the Centre share details about the air strikes and the number of casualties, Jaitley said Banerjee had “started doubting the veracity of the incident”. “The credibility of both the government and our Air Force is being doubted,” he said. “Even Congress leaders have raised similar questions.”
Jaitley said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement was the “most disappointing and objectionable”. Singh had said he hoped “saner counsels” will prevail between the leadership of the two countries and the governments will get back to the economic development “which is the basic requirement of India and Pakistan”.
“In his speech Dr Singh implicitly doubted India’s right to defend its sovereignty from those who want to damage it through terrorism,” Jaitley said in another tweet. “He mentioned poverty, ignorance and disease in his speech. But violence and terrorism are of no consequence in his assessment.”
Jaitley said the Opposition was entitled to ask questions, “but then restrain and statesmanship are also an essential ingredient of public discourse”. “I hope, India’s Opposition revisits its position and does not let down the nation,” he added.