Reprimanding Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement that 30 years of steam was released on September 29 when soldiers dismantled seven terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Congress veteran A.K. Antony while setting the record straight on Thursday said that surgical operations were done during the former UPA regime as well as at the time of other governments in the past, adding that the former is busting too much and somebody should control him.
"And also, I will say while he says that for the 30 years the Indian armed forces did not retaliate, it means more than seven years of its (BJP's) leader and our Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee's government was also suffering humiliations. It is strange," Antony told ANI.
"Not now, in the past also, and during the UPA regime also, many a times our army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and conducted retaliatory actions. I can say during our time, many a times these kinds of retaliations were from our parts. In other words, you may say surgical strikes and other retaliatory actions, which depends on the gravity of the attack committed by the enemy on our country and our armed forces," he said disapproving Parrikar's statement.
"I feel sad that the Defence Minister of the country could speak like this frequently. I strongly object to his statement as it is an insult to the armed forces, army, our people and the country. The Defence Minister is busting too much and somebody should control him because we cannot have this kind of debate on national security and operational details of the armed forces," said the former defence minister.
"During the last 10 years of the UPA government, ministers did not give details of the operations of the army. Normally, the army briefs the media whatever they feel necessary and not beyond that. Now, the ministers are briefing the media about the operational details of the armed forces, which is not a good practice," he added.
Further taking on Parrikar, Antony said the former's assertion that that the incumbent regime has lifted the burden and frustration of the last 30 years is a clearly an insult to the Indian armed forces and the country.
"What does it mean; it means that for the last 30 years our armed forces were suffering all kinds of retaliation, attacks, infiltration from across the border from the enemy country," he said.
Stating that he can say with authority that the Indian Army has never been an aggressor and India has never on its own provoked its enemy, Antony added, "But at the same time, whenever there is infiltration our armed forces, especially the army, retaliated, which is a practice of our army."
Noting that armed forces, including army, are always allowed to take whatever actions are needed to give a befitting reply to an attack or infiltration against the country, Antony said, "But, the practice is that the army will choose their own time and their own place to retaliate, and not the government. The operational details are not decided by the government, it is decided by the army. So, timing and place of retaliation are decided by the army and they are free to do that. They have done it in the past during the UPA government and during times of other governments also."
Speaking at two events in Mumbai, Parrikar had earlier said that 30 years of steam was released on September 29 when soldiers crossed into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to target seven staging areas for terrorists.
"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.
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