No comments, says MEA on Foreign Secretary's remark on surgical strikes

External Affairs Ministry on Thursday declined to comment on Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's remarks on cross-LoC surgical strike.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016, 19:44 PM IST

New Delhi: External Affairs Ministry on Thursday declined to comment on Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's remarks, purportedly made at a meeting of a Parliamentary panel, on cross-LoC surgical strike, saying its proceedings were confidential and sharing the details will amount to breach of Parliamentary privileges.

"Proceedings of the Parliamentary standing committee are confidential. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the issue. I will not comment on a matter which is confidential and must remain confidential," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

He was replying to a barrage of questions on the issue during a weekly media briefing.

According to a few members present at the meeting of Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs on Tuesday, Jaishankar said the Army had carried out "target specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations" across the LoC in the past too but it was for the first time the government had gone public about it.

The comments appeared to contradict Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's claim that it was for the first time a cross-LoC surgical strike was carried out by the Army.

Government sources later clarified that Jaishankar told the panel that whether cross-LoC surgical strikes were undertaken by the army in the past only the military will know as no "message" about such assaults were conveyed.

"I am not going to answer any questions pertaining to the particular briefing because those briefings are supposed to be confidential in nature. I cannot breach parliamentary privileges," said Swarup.

Asked about MEA's views on the surgical strike, he said they were the same as expressed in the statement of Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) on September 29.