Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said the credit for the recent successful surgical strikes in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir should go to all the 127 crore Indians, and not to any political party.
"To all the doubting Thomases, I would like to say that the credit for the surgical strikes goes to all the 127 crore Indians, and not to any political party. It was the Army which carried out the surgical strikes and perhaps a little credit for decision making (to allow it) can go to our Prime Minister and me," said the defence minister, who was speaking at the inauguration of a conference on Materials Engineering Technology.
One should not mix politics with this military issue, Parrikar said, adding the Hindi phrase "Jab Khuda deta hai to chhappar phad ke deta hai!" (When God gives, he gives a lot), while elaborating that he understands the sentiments of the people with regards to the surgical strikes.
A war of words erupted over the politicization of the strike with the opposition accusing the government of seeking to capitalise on the Indian Army's action for electoral gains. The surgical strike came in the wake of the terror attack at an Army camp in Uri town of Kashmir on September 18, in which 19 soldiers were killed.
Later at a media briefing, when asked to comment on the latest development in Pakistan where a journalist of Dawn newspaper has been barred from leaving the country over a recent news article he wrote, Parrikar commented: "In any democratic country, a free press will only help your government to improve the state of the nation."
He also said that in the last two years, a whopping Rs 2,20,000 crore worth of defence deal contracts have been signed and efforts are on to streamline the system so that there are minimal hurdles in acquiring modern technology weaponry.
Parrikar said that the materials technology conference is significant because India shares $1 billion of the Global Heat Treatment market, growing at 12% per annum. Materials and engineering focuses on developing new materials, new processes, new theories and computational models for better technology in all fields.