Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has blasted Pakistan saying that Islamabad has been misleading the world over Balakot Air Strike. She said that selected journalists were taken to a madrasa after 40 days. Sitharaman has said that this madrasa was not part of the Balakot Air Strike scheme and was never attacked. Sitharaman, in an interview with IE, also said that journalists were taken on a guided tour and did not get access to the much-talked-about training facility run by Jaish-e-Mohammed headed by Masood Azhar. Journalists were shown the exterior but Imran Khan administration did not reveal what happened inside. So taking journalists to the ground zero is nothing but a “whitewashing”, the Defence Minister said.
Sitharaman has also rejected the opposition’s allegations that BJP was using the Pulwama terror attack and subsequent Balakot airstrike to influence the voters during ongoing Lok Sabha elections 2019. Sitharaman said after Pulwama, Union ministers of the Modi government accompanied the martyrs’ bodies to their villagers. The central government was bound to take punitive actions against the terrorists and it was natural the airstrike was being talked about.
Refuting that BJP was confident about winning the Lok Sabha polls because of Balakot air strike, she said that the central government has taken welfare measures for unorganised labourers as well as farmers. While the government has recapitalised the bank and restored the economy. The middle class was also happy regarding the income tax benefits provided by the Modi government, she said.
She also talked about the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the government’s plea on the Rafale deal documents. She said the court was informed about the secret, classified documents being taken away in an illegitimate way. Sitharaman also said that there won’t be any review of the Rafale deal even if the top court decided to review its December 2018 verdict on the Rafale deal.