Days ahead of general elections, India’s Congress faced a big embarrassment when the party chief’s key adviser questioned the country’s recent airstrikes on Balakot terror camps in Pakistan.
Sam Pitroda, above, who lives in the US and advises Rahul Gandhi on foreign matters, brazenly said on Friday that terrorist attacks like the one staged in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir will happen all the time and it is naive for India to blame and punish Pakistan for such attacks staged by a few terrorists.
Pitroda also questioned the death toll claimed by the government in the Balakot airstrike by quoting western media.
According to him, sending Indian army or air force personnel across the border to avenge terror attacks is not the right approach to deal with the world.
He even tried to draw a parallel between Indian and US governments by saying both talk about the enemy at the border. While in India, it is Pakistan, in the US, it is Mexican immigrants, he said.
Pitroda’s comments drew sharp criticism from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
While Pitroda questioned India’s airstrikes, no country or groups including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation found anything wrong with what the Indian Air Force did.
Only Pakistan criticised India’s airstrike and Congress leaders began parroting what Islamabad was saying.
India now follows a muscular policy against Pakistan especially when national security is under threat. The Balakot operation gave a clear message to Pakistan that if enemies cross the border to attack Indian citizens and soldiers, the army and air force will hit back with pinpoint accuracy.
Pakistan media will play up statements made by people like Pitroda as they will help Islamabad to spread its lies on Pulwama and Balakot incidents.
On the other hand, a large section of India media which upholds truth and credibility will reject such pro-Pakistan statements coming from India’s opposition leaders, Jaitley said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is shameful that the Congress chief’s overseas adviser Pitroda demeans India’s armed forces on a day when Pakistan is celebrating its national day.
Realising that Pitroda’s comments might hurt the party’s poll prospects, a Congress spokesman said Pitroda’s views on Pulwama and Balakot were personal and they do not reflect the party’s views.
Congress and other opposition parties are so blinded by hatred of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they still keep questioning the Balakot airstrike and ask for proof.
Pitroda compares India to the US over perception of border threat by their respective governments. Have US opposition parties ever asked the government for proof of attacks staged by the country’s defence forces in the Middle East or elsewhere? Will Pitroda ask Washington or Pentagon for tangible evidence on the success of US defence missions?
As the Congress-led opposition kept building a false narrative on Pulwama and Balakot, the Indian Air Force released videos of the airstrikes and evidence about the presence some 300 cell phones which were active in the terror camps until the bombings.
But Pitroda and other Congress leaders only trust western media reports on Pulwama and Balakot. One report by an international news agency said their journalists could not see any signs of structural damage to the Balakot terror camp from 100 metres away. They wanted to know the truth but were barred by Pakistani authorities from visiting the bombed structure.
There is a systematic effort by India’s opposition parties and foreign media to discredit the Modi government and the India Air Force which carried out the Balakot operation.
The decisive airstrikes have boosted Modi’s popularity ratings to 62% and brightened his party’s chances of winning the April-May elections. Congress and other parties want to prevent this. The false narrative they are spreading on Balakot operation exposes their utter desperation.