As a political storm brewed over Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s statement on the killing of five Indian soldiers in Poonch, the Congress on Wednesday maintained he did not give a clean chit to Pakistani Army in connection with the incident.
The party also rejected BJP’s criticism of the government over handling of Pakistan affairs, saying “war is no solution” and “dialogue and discussion” are the only way to resolve disputes with the neighbour.
Accusing the opposition party of “politicising” the issue for electoral gains, party spokesperson P.C. Chacko said anybody trying to fish in troubled waters will not succeed and reminded BJP what was the outcome of its peace initiatives with Pakistan during NDA rule.
Noting that it was a “wrong” interpretation to say that the Defence Minister by his statement meant that Pakistan army was not involved in the attack along the LoC, Mr. Chacko said “any attempt to twist, misinterpret or politicise the issue will be unfortunate. There is no denying the role of the Pakistani army.”
The Congress spokesperson added “when he (Antony) said people in Pakistani Army uniform, did he not say Pakistani Army...Did he say no Pakistani Army? Had Antony said Pakistani Army has no role? There is no denying the role of Pakistani Army”.
Rejecting the contention that the Defence Minister had committed a goof-up by his statement overriding the earlier version of the Army statement, he said “what happened there was terrorist plus army men that was his information. The Defence Minister gets information only from the Armed forces.”
“There is no goof-up, no mistake, no contradiction. Whatever information was available with the Defence Minister, he said according to that,” he said.
Rejecting suggestions that Mr. Antony gave a clean chit to Pakistani Army over its role into the attack, Mr. Chacko had a dig at BJP saying “we know who gave a clean chit to Pakistan” and referred to Indo-Pak talks before Kargil war during NDA rule.