Opposition parties questioned Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement on the issues of surgical strike, India’s nuclear doctrine, among others and demanded his explanation on the same. While Parrikar was present in the house when the issue was raised in the Zero Hour on Tuesday, he did not respond.
Attacking Parrikar’s past speech where he had claimed that that India had “never” carried out surgical strikes in the past, senior Congress MP Shantaram Naik called it “false” suggesting he should not make policy statements outside Parliament.
Citing certain examples, Naik said the Defence Minister “falsely claims that India never conducted surgical strikes in the past”.
“He never mentioned the strike that India had carried out in erstwhile East Pakistan under occupation of Pakistan dividing that country into two during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure,” the Congress MP said.
Flaying Parrikar’s remarks, where he had reportedly given credit to RSS ideology, Naik said, “the Defence Minister gives credit to RSS ideology for surgical strikes rather than giving credit to our brave soldiers…” and suggested that Parrikar should not “ridicule” the country by making statements which can be construed to be “in bad taste”.
During his speech, Naik also got support from some other members including JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.
Referring to the Minister’s statement on nuclear doctrine at a recent book launch, Naik said Parrikar had then “articulated a personal view which is contrary to India’s ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons. This doctrine has come for adverse comments from many strategists.”
“If Defence Minister is making an aggressive posture, then how is that the government had failed to ensure reciprocal visit (to Pakistan) after it permitted a Pakistani delegation to visit sensitive areas in Pathankot,” he asked.
Associating with his party colleague, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the Defence Minister should not have made policy statements on India’s nuclear doctrine outside Parliament.
“The Defence Minister must respect Parliament. He should be advised not to make policy statements when Parliament is in session. He should come to the House and respond,” Sharma said.
“… these are not ordinary statements. They are of serious nature. He (Parrikar) should respond,” Sharad Yadav said supporting Congress MPs charges.
As Opposition members sought the Defence Minister’s reply, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he cannot ask him to respond.
Meanwhile, the MPs from Treasury Bench said “flimsy issues” are being raised and urged the Chair not to allow Opposition members to take others’ time.
(With inputs from the PTI)