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Parrikar slams Congress for ‘doubting’ surgical strikes

Panaji, July 16 (IANS) Slamming the opposition for spreading scepticism and negativity, former Defence Minister and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday asked if the Congress would have believed in the surgical strikes if the Army had taken its President Rahul Gandhi along on the mission.

“I am not speaking about the surgical strikes in a political manner. What do the opposition parties claim? That they (strikes) were not carried out. Look at the negativity. Should I have taken you (opposition) along? I should have told the army to take Rahul Gandhi along and carry out the surgical strikes?” Parrikar told a meeting of party workers here as part of the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“The most important thing about surgical strikes is the secrecy. Only four of us knew. The Prime Minister, me, Army chief and the Director General of Military Operations. Four of us in Delhi and core commander and army commander in Srinagar and those who executed it.

“We had to prepare for it early on, because these things can’t be done on the spot,” the former Defence Minister said, urging the party workers to reach out to the people and create a positive atmosphere.

The Chief Minister also said that his mother’s wisdom of preparing extensively for any eventuality was one of the factors which inspired him and his Defence Ministry to be fully prepared ahead of the actual strikes.

“My mother used to say, the press should not interpret it wrongly… When you go hunting for rabbits, you should be prepared for a tiger. So, when we were preparing for a surgical strike, we were in all readiness. But there was scepticism about that too,” Parrikar said.

Parrikar was the Defence Minister when the two surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian armed forces on the country’s eastern and western fronts.