Manohar Parrikar says major credit of surgical strike goes to PM Narendra Modi, also takes a dig at 'doubting Thomases'
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's comment came in the wake of the Opposition's charge that the ruling BJP is trying to encash the valour of the Indian Army to get votes.
At the same time, Parrikar said that the "doubting Thomases" can share credit for the operation, though a "major" share goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for decision-making and planning the strikes along the Line of Control to destroy terror launch pads.
"I don't mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party.”
"We, in the government, and I, personally as the defence minister, are happy to share the credit with the Army, the 127 crore citizens and also those doubting Thomases," he said while addressing an audience at one of the two events he attended.
The minister said it will settle the nerves of many, in an apparent dig at the Opposition parties which have been accusing the Modi Government and the BJP of taking credit for the Army action for political gains.
Several opposition leaders and parties have also questioned the surgical strike and have sought proof while the Congress has said that similar operations were undertaken during its tenure also.
The minister said he understands the sentiments of the people and they are satisfied now.
"I understand (that) people`s sentiments are satisfied and the population is satisfied," he said.
Parrikar also denied that the government has leaked information about the September 28-29 surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads in PoK.
"There is a difference between covert and overt operations. We have asked the Army to share with the nation about their operations," Parrikar said.
Parrikar also rejected claims that surgical strikes were undertaken during the UPA regime.
He made it clear that claims of having carried out such strikes earlier were wrong as such actions were undertaken by border action teams at local level "without the knowledge" of the government.
"I have been the Defence Minister for two years. From whatever I have known, there is no surgical strike from previous years. What they are quoting are actions taken by border action teams. These are common actions across the globe and by the Indian Army," he said.
Explaining the concept, the Minister said such operations are carried out without official order or prior sanction of the government.
"It is done without the knowledge of anyone. A report is subsequently given," he said underlining the action is taken by the local commander for settling scores.
Parrikar made it clear that unlike earlier, this time it was a surgical strike because "decision was taken and conveyed" and the Army did the job well.
"This was an operation which clearly indicates the intent of the government and the nation," he said.
Parrikar said that if the government wanted to take political mileage out of this, he would have announced it rather than the Director General of Military Operations.
Earlier this week, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said that it was the soldiers who were making sacrifices for the nation but ministers in the Narendra Modi government were trying to grab all the credit for the surgical strikes through "posters and hoardings".
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, concluding his 'Kisan Yatra' in New Delhi on October 6, had accused Prime Minister Modi of playing politics over the blood of soldiers.
The Congress has also said that similar operations were undertaken during its tenure also.
The Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on the night of September 28 in the wake of the September 18 terror attack on the Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri town, leaving 19 soldiers dead.