BJP is not politicising soldiers' valour: Nirmala Sitharaman

The UPA government led by Manmohan Singh lacked the political will to combat terrorism which was evident after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the BJP leader said.

Published: 26th April 2019 12:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2019 12:52 AM   |  A+A-

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File Photo | PTI)


MUMBAI: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday denied Opposition's allegation that the BJP was politicising security forces' valour to seek votes, saying her party was only talking about the "political will" necessary to combat terror."

"Who is politicising the (valour of) security forces? We haven't done it," she said, speaking to reporters here. 

The UPA government led by Manmohan Singh lacked the political will to combat terrorism which was evident after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the BJP leader said.

The Narendra Modi government took "decisive" steps and showed "political will" to combat terror, which was seen in the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike in February in the aftermath of Uri and Pulwama attacks, respectively, Sitharaman said.

"The Congress feels hesitant to talk about political will, hence it thinks we are politicising (the valour of soldiers)," she said.


"We are not politicising the valour, but talking about the political leadership's will to take action which is not politicisation," the defence minister said.

She also attacked the Congress over its poll promise to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying it would be difficult for the Army to operate in a state such as Jammu and Kashmir in its absence.

"For AFSPA to be removed, changes have to be brought on the ground first through programmes. Till that time, it cannot be removed," the minister said.

Sitharaman also hit out at Opposition for questioning the Balakot air strike or seeking the proof of the surgical strike.

She felt "sad", she said, adding that Pakistan would like Opposition's language.

To a question, Sitharaman said due procedure was followed in negotiating the Rafale deal.

There was no need to change the defence procurement policy in the context of the deal, which the Congress is criticising for alleged irregularities, she added.

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