Kolkata, March 18 (IANS) Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi played the role of “perfect chowkidar” by giving Pakistan a befitting reply after the Pulwama terror attack, something his predecessor Manmohan Singh could not do in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
“After Mumbai attack, the government then did not have the guts to give a befitting reply to Pakistan. They sat right, gave statements, said they would talk, make them understand. OK, do all that. We will also do. But so long, we had been suffering,” she said.
“And Pakistan continued to claim before the world that they are themselves victims of terrorism. You are grooming terrorists, training them, and sending them to India. And claim you are the victims of terrorism… then take action as per law against them,” Sitharaman said.
The Defence Minister said even after Pulwama, the Indian government had given evidence to Pakistan, but it did not act.
Pointing out that even the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) itself had claimed responsibility for the strike, Sitharaman asked: “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”
“What action Pakistan did not take, we took. We had inputs that another Pulwama-style terror attack was in the offing. We studied intel inputs and destroyed the training camps, where terrorists are trained.
“What Manmohan Singh did not do, Modi did. he acted like the perfect chowkidar. and gave Pakistan a befitting reply,” she said participating in the panel discussion ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’.
Sitharman also lashed out at journalists and thinkers in the country who described Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as a “statesman” for returning Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
She said Pakistan did not do a favour but the pilot’s release happened as per law.
In this context, Sitharaman reminded the audience that India had returned 90,000 Pakistani soldiers — taken as prisoners of war after 1971 — unconditionally.
“But there are some people within India, some journalists and thinkers, who are calling Imran Khan a statesman for sending back our pilot.”
Sitharam said the statements given by these people and leaders of various opposition parties were shown on Pakistan television channels, generating high TRPs.
“These are the people who did not want India to purchase Rafale, because they would bolster the strength of our defence forces”.
After Balakot air strikes, India has given a message to the entire world that it would not bow down to Pakistan’s threat that since it was also a nuclear state, India would suffer if it did something against Pakistan.
She said while Pakistan was not going for a direct war with India, it was training non-state actors to come to India. “The guns, hand grenades were all given by Pakistan.”