Rejecting Congress’s claims that “surgical strikes” were conducted even during the UPA regime, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday termed the incidents local actions ordered by the army commander.
Speaking at two separate events in Mumbai, Parrikar said he did not mind sharing the credit for the September 29 surgical strikes with the people of India. At the same time, he insisted that a “major share” of the credit for last month’s action went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for “decision-making and planning”.
“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,” Parrikar said.
The remarks drew angry reactions from the Congress, who accused the BJP of politicising army action and hit out at the defence minister for “displaying lack of maturity”.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called Parrikar’s remarks “misleading” and “undermining” the sacrifices made by the armed forces. “Why is Parrikar quiet about the Army’s valour? Is (it)

not blatant politicisation?” Surjewala said referring to Operation Ginger undertaken by the Army in August 2011.
He accused the BJP and Parrikar of using the surgical strikes to “polish” the image of the prime minister. Last week, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had accused Modi of “hiding” behind the sacrifices made by the armed forces and reneging on promises to create jobs and denying veterans the benefits of the Seventh Pay Commission.
The Aam Aadmi Party accused Parrikar of indulging in “low-grade politics” by trying to cash in on the surgical strikes ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
“There is no better example of low-grade politics. By issuing such a statement, Parrikar is belittling the achievements of the Indian Army, which has had a proud history of valour and sacrifice,” AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey said.
CPI leader D Raja wondered why the BJP was dragging the Army into the debate over the surgical strikes. “Why the strikes are being made an issue of debate? The Indian Army is of the entire country. It is not the BJP’s army or that of some other political party. So, why is the BJP dragging the Army into the debate,” Raja asked.

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