NEW DELHI: IN an indication of the prevailing hostility between India and Pakistan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has decided against visiting Pakistan to attend a SAARC conference in Islamabad at the end of August. The news came on a day when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar took a jibe at the neighbouring country saying “going to Pakistan is like going to hell”.
Sources hinted that the decision to not send Jaitley to the conference on August 25-26 also stems from the treatment given to Home Minister Rajnath Singh by Pakistani authorities when he went to attend the SAARC meet with his counterparts earlier in August.
“A final call will be taken by the Prime Minister. But most likely India will be represented by economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das,” government sources said. India had sent the Home Minister to the SAARC meet to highlight its commitment to the regional forum.
However, the snub by Pakistani authorities made Rajnath return without attending the official lunch, which was also skipped by host and Pakistan interior minister Nisar Ahmed Chaudhary.
In sync with the aggressive approach adopted by the Modi government to puncture Pakistan’s rhetoric on Kashmir, Parrikar on Tuesday compared it with “hell”.
Referring to an infiltration bid which was foiled on Tuesday by the Army, he said, “Kal hamare jawano ne paanch logon (terrorists) ko wapas bhej dia, Pakistan mein jaana aur nark (hell) mein jaana ek hi hai (Our soldiers sent back five terrorists yesterday. Going to Pakistan is same as going to hell).”
Speaking at an event in Rewari district of Haryana to flag off the Tiranga Yatra, Parrikar said PoK is a part of India and violation of human rights must stop in Balochistan.
He added that Pakistan has always been “promoting” terrorism and the nation is now bearing its consequences. He assured the people that “Indian soldiers will give a befitting reply to every attack”.
the defence minister alongside Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Planning and Minister of State for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, paid rich tributes to Rao Tula Ram at his birthplace.
Tula Ram was one of the key leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.