Air strike was to send out a message, not kill: Union Minister SS Ahluwalia

Ahluwalia reiterated the government's stand on the IAF air strike on Jaish camps in Pakistan's Balakot while saying that there was no official figures of any casualties.

Published: 03rd March 2019 04:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2019 04:32 PM   |  A+A-

SS_Ahluwalia

Union Minister SS Ahluwalia (File | PTI)

By PTI

KOLKATA: Amid the opposition's demand for proof on the Centre's claims of terror camp strikes in Pakistan, Union Minister S S Ahluwalia has said the purpose of the strike was not to cause human casualty but to send out the message that India is capable of hitting deep inside enemy lines.

Ahluwalia said neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any government spokesperson had given any figure on casualty of air strikes.

Rather, it was the Indian media and social media where the unconfirmed figures of terrorist killed were being circulated, he said.

READ HERE | PM Modi says country missing Rafale, slams opposition for doubting Balakot air strike

"I have seen reports in Indian media and international media and also what Modi-ji had said. After the air strike, there was a rally by Modi-ji and he didn't say anything on the casualty figures. I want to ask if Modi-ji, or any government spokesperson, or our party president Amit Shah has given any figures?" he asked reporters in Siliguri on Saturday.

The minister of state for electronics and information technology said the intention of the strike was to send out a message that India is capable of destruction in Pakistan's own backyard if needed.

We didn't want any human casualty, he said.

ALSO READ | Trinamool Congress accuses BJP ministers of 'leaking exaggerated numbers' of Balakot air strike

The video of Ahluwalia's comments was posted by the CPI(M) on its Twitter handle with a question: "Is the Govt now backtracking from its claims that they took out a Terrorist Camp in Pakistan? (sic)" When contacted, Ahluwalia reiterated that neither the government officials nor any minister has given out a figure of the casualties.

"I was asked whether I stand by the government's statement or by the reports of Indian media which have said 300-350 terrorists where killed. I stand by the government's statement. How can I vouch for media reports," he told PTI.

The Darjeeling BJP MP's comments come in the wake of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioning the Modi government over the air strike.

Banerjee on Thursday demanded evidence of the pre-emptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps by the Indian Air Force.

She also said the opposition parties want to know the details of the operation.

ALSO READ | Congress demoralizing jawans by asking for air strike proof: PM Modi at Patna rally

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