NEW DELHI: Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a “free hand” to security forces dealing with Pakistan at the Line of Control, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the perpetrators of the Uri attack wouldn’t go “unpunished”.
While chairing the Cabinet Committee on Security meet on Wednesday morning, Modi was briefed about measures and the counter-offensive activities initiated by security forces along the LoC and the international border with Pakistan. Sources said Modi told his cabinet colleague that security forces should be given a “free hand” to counter infiltration.
Parrikar said the government wouldn’t “sleep over” the terror being pushed into India from across the border even as he admitted that “something may have gone wrong” on the part of the forces. He also asserted that he would take steps to ensure that “this doesn’t happen again.”
“Obviously something must have been wrong. I will not go into detail of it. Obviously it is a very sensitive matter,” he said.
While dismissing reports about Pakistan’s threat of using tactical nukes, Parrikar said, “We take proper reading of everything and I don’t think Prime Minister’s initial words that ‘those responsible will be punished’ will go as a mere statement. How to punish, that is for us to work out. We are quite serious about it. Empty vessels make most noise. This country is a very responsible power, but that does not mean I will sleep over this kind of terrorism that is being pushed from across. How I do it is entirely for the government under the Prime Minister to decide,” the Union minister said.
The defence minister met Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to discuss border security matters.
Meanwhile on the political front, the Congress lambasted the defence minister for “focusing more” on the elections of his home state, Goa.
Claiming there has been a downslide in all parameters and virtually blaming it on Parrikar’s absence from Delhi, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Parrikar has made it clear that he is the proxy chief minister of Goa or wants to be chief minister. In either event, the casualty can’t be defence of India.”
Asked whether the Congress was asking for Parrikar’s resignation, Singhvi noted that “It’s the Prime Minister’s prerogative who keeps in which portfolio and it’s on us, as the Opposition, to seek accountability.’’
There have been reports in a section of the media that Prime Minister Modi was expressed his displeasure over Parrikar’s absence in the national capital when the Uri strike took place.