New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday aimed her ire at those from within the country who hailed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to return Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Also Read - Over 300 Twitter Handles Generated From Pakistan to Disrupt Farmers' Tractor Rally, Claims Delhi Police

The Raksha Mantri maintained that the Indian Air Force pilot’s release from Pakistan captivity was as per law and not a favour. Also Read - Pakistan Approves Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V For Emergency Use

“Some within India, some journalists and thinkers, are terming him (Imran Khan) a statesman for sending back our pilot, but it is only as per law and it has not done India a favour; they are also questioning what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done,” she said while addressing a gathering on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Also Read - Budget 2021: Tax Slabs May Remain Unchanged But Salaried Taxpayers Likely to Get Some Relief This Year

India had sent back 90,000 Pakistani soldiers unconditionally after the 1971 war, in which Pakistan was defeated, she added.

Pulling up the nature of broadcast journalism, the defence minister spoke of how Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP.

Steering conversation to the Balakot air strike, the defence minister said that India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail.

She also drew a comparison between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former PM Dr Manmohan Singh on India’s new muscular policy against its belligerent neighbours. Modi did what former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not do in the Mumbai attacks 2008 aftermath, possibly because of Islamabad’s continued propaganda that ‘it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them,” she opined.

“Chowkidar gave Pakistan the right answer,” Sitharaman added.

With PTI inputs