New Delhi, The Balakot anti-terror strike by Indian Air Force would have been carried out even without Pulwama attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and thus it should not be seen as a ‘revenge’ action, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
In an interview with Doordarshan News, Mr Jaitley said “Nishchit hota (definitely it would have been)”.
“Maan lijiye Pulwama nahi hota….toh bhi (Balakot attack) nishchit hota (Even without Pulwama, Balakot air strike would have been carried out definitely),” he said.
“We carried out Balakot aerial strike for national security…There is no relation between Pulwama and Balakot strike,” he asserted.
Mr Jaitley, who has held Defence portfolio for brief spell and is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, was specifically asked if the aerial strike would have been carried out had there been no terror strike at CRPF personnel at Pulwama on February 14.
“When there is information that hundreds of terrorists are being trained to attack India, so what do you think the government would have said – that we will not act because there will be allegation of garnering political benefits….,” he said.
“Desh ke hit pein apko jana padta (In national interests, you would have been compelled to undertake Balakot operation),” Mr Jaitley said.
Answering questions, he said the government has clear policy towards Pakistan and thus there is no logic in mixing up the issues of protocol and policy.
This was in reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi writing a letter and extending good wishes to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the eve of Pakistan National Day.
“The issues of protocol and foreign policy should not be mixed….Even during elections, when there is a marriage at our rivals’ family, we have to go,” he said adding “protocol is often mandatory”.
“As far as policy is concerned towards Pakistan, we have proved it in Balakot. We also made it clear that as long as there is terror, there will not be resumption of formal talks,” Mr Jaitley said.