Piyush Goyal, Union minister for Railways and Coal, has drawn criticism for his combative response to a question about India’s air strikes in the Balakot area of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

During a one-on-one session with journalist Rahul Kanwal at the India Today Conclave on Friday, Goyal was asked if the international media’s narrative that the Indian Air Force missed its targets and dropped bombs in a forest rather than Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps puts pressure on India to prove that its operation was successful.

Instead of answering, Goyal asked Kanwal if he is a “part of the narrative that is trying to belittle our armed forces”. Questioning his trust in the armed forces for even posing the question, the agitated minister called it a “matter of shame”.

After several similar barbs by Goyal, Kanwal hit back saying, “Neither me, nor anyone sitting here needs any lesson in nationalism or patriotism from you or anyone else,” eliciting applause from the audience.

Goyal’s reaction led many journalists to question why asking a straightforward question was considered belittlement of the country and its armed forces, while praising Kanwal for his response and composure.

Other journalists, however, called out the role of anchors like Kanwal in fostering an environment where such attacks and accusations of being “anti-national” by politicians have become commonplace.

You can watch the full video of the interview here: