New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that India had “exposed” Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” by carrying out air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp at Balakot on February 26. “India fought and won conventional wars against Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and during the Kargil conflict. Since then, Pakistan’s army has realised that because of our huge economy and superior military strength, conventional wars cannot be won,” IANS quoted the finance minister as saying at a TV show.
Jaitley noted that Pakistan then had only two options–one, fighting a proxy war with the help of terrorists, and two, projecting a nuclear bluff. “Since both the countries are armed with nuclear weapons, the nuclear bluff was their second option. But it has been exposed this time,” he mentioned.
The Finance Minister then drew a contrast in India’s now and earlier policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to attack the main source of terrorism this time, instead of just being on the defensive.
“Till now, Pakistan’s policy was to send terrorists to carry out attacks, while our policy was to be defensive. Modiji has brought a small change in that. While we will continue to defend, we will also attack the main sources of terrorism. The 2016 surgical strike was our first step, and the latest air strikes were the second,” he asserted.
Jaitley asserted that India got tremendous international support, including China’s for striking JeM camps. “This time, the world powers supported us when our air force struck at the Jaish terror camp. Not only the US, the UK, Europe or Russia, even China released a neutral statement,” he said.
lashing at the opposition parties for demanding evidence of Jaish terrorists killed in the IAF air strikes, Jaitley said, “These parties and leaders should know that operational details of the armed forces are never shared.”
“The army or the air force doesn’t share operational details in public anywhere in the world. The US carried out attack in Abbotabad (Pakistan), killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, took his body away and threw it into the ocean. No operational details were shared,” he said.
Jaitley said it was unfortunate that some opposition leaders were indulging in foolish politics.
“They are unknowingly becoming witnesses for the Pakistan government. I feel people of India will teach them a lesson for raising the TRPs of Pakistani news channels, which are telecasting their statements. These leaders will have to face the wrath of the people in India,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley pointed out two reasons as to why Pakistan army broke the news instead of its civilian government bringing the matter to light. The first being, “First, the Pakistan army had created a big aura about its prowess among Pakistanis, and it did not want its image to be dented. That is why they tweeted that Indian aircraft came, dropped 1,000 kg payloads on an open area and fled.”
The second reason is more vital. Had the Pakistan army admitted that IAF aircraft crossed its air space and bombed its buildings, the first question that would have been raised was, what was the extent of damage? Experts would have come for a survey of the buildings and would have asked who were the people staying inside,” Jaitley said.
On February 26, India retaliated to Pulwama Terror Attack by carrying out a ‘pre-emptive and non-military’ strike on Pakistan’s soil. The strike is said to have killed nearly 300 terrorists. The following day, Islamabad made a failed attempt to target military installations in India in which one MiG 21 was lost and an IAF pilot went “missing in action”. However, the pilot was brought back from Pakistan after two days of his capture.