Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday protested at what she said was the "sarcastic tone" of a reporter's question about the 2016 surgical strikes carried out by the Army on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
A reporter asked her at a press conference in Delhi why the NDA government was "tom-tomming" the operation two years later. "I got hurt by the way--in a very sarcastic tone you asked the question," said Sitharaman. "The word you used--bin bajaye (tom-tomming)--I understand Hindi."
During the ongoing campaign for Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, BJP leaders including party president Amit Shah have repeatedly referred to the surgical strikes of September 2016 in which the Indian Army destroyed terrorist launch pads by crossing the Line of Control.
The journalist had asked her if it was fair to go public about the surgical strike, if it was in the soldiers' interest, and had Congress governments never carried out such military operations.
"Every citizen should glorify it. Should we be ashamed of attacking an enemy? They attacked our jawans with the help of terrorists. We targeted their (terrorists') camp," Sitharaman said.
"We should be proud of the soldiers who laid down their lives for our motherland. We should be proud of them. Should we be ashamed of it?" she asked. "I got hurt by the way in a very sarcastic tone you asked the question. He may not have meant it," she said after other journalists tried to mollify her.
If Congress governments of the past had ever carried out surgical strikes, the party should have glorified them, the minister said.