MPs’ panel raises questions on Balakot

The picture shows Pakistani troops visiting the site where Indian planes strike in Jaba near Balakot.  

The Centre must circulate evidence of the damage suffered by the Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM) camp in Balakot to the international community to end speculation in the international press about the number of casualties in the Indian Air Force attack, members of the Standing Committee on External Affairs said on Friday.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and other senior officials of the External Affairs Ministry briefed the panel. Mr. Gokhale was meant to speak on the new government taking charge in Pakistan, but the briefing was largely centred on the Pulwama attack and its fallout.

The Foreign Secretary refused to give operational details about the air strikes of February 26, pleading that it did not fall under his domain. He also refused to answer questions on the number of possible casualties at the JeM camp, committee sources said.

The panel members hailed the strikes by the Indian Air Force but lamented that internationally India had not been given due credit.

“The international community is claiming that our strikes had no impact, the camps were already empty and no men were killed. They are trying to hide the glory of our armed forces. So we told the Foreign Secretary that this misinformation campaign needs to be combated by widely circulating the relevant evidence,” an Opposition leader, who attended the meeting, said.

The panel asked Mr. Gokhale to highlight the justification for the air strikes and the JeM’s role in spreading terror in India.

Mr. Gokhale assured the Committee that diplomatic overtures to the international community were still under way. Mr Gokhale, the sources said, also spoke on OIC support for India.

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 12:39:01 PM |

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