PM Modi did what Manmohan Singh could not do, says Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at an event in Kolkata on Sunday. (Express photo)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did what his predecessor Manmohan Singh could not do, which is to act against terrorists in Pakistan.

Speaking at an event in Kolkata, Sitharaman said, "'Chowkidar' gave Pakistan the right answer."

"After the 26/11 attack, we gave evidence to Pakistan but they did nothing. After the Pulwama attack, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility. We did what Pakistan should have done. Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim? That's the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the terrorists, which Manmohan Singh did not do," she said.

The Defence Minister also slammed the Congress for raising questions over the air strike. "When the Congress was in power, they did not take action against terrorists. Our government met world leaders to isolate and demand action from Pakistan against terrorists. By raising questions on the air strike, they are not supporting the nation," she said.

On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out an air strike on JeM camp in Balakot in PoK, 12 days after the Pulwama terror attack.

Targeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for demanding evidence of the air strike, she said, "The state government has demanded proof of the air strike. By doing so, they are not standing by our side. Such demands will only help Pakistan, not us."

Criticising those who termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan a "statesman" for returning Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Sitharaman said the IAF pilot’s release was as per law and "not a favour".

India sent back 90,000 Pakistani soldiers unconditionally after the 1971 war, in which Pakistan was defeated, she said. "But some within India, some journalists and thinkers, are terming him (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.

Pakistan showed the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.

"It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces," she said, addressing a gathering here on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

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

The minister said though there is no direct war being between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.

Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot.There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.

With PTI inputs