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Parliament Panel Not to be Briefed on Surgical Strikes, Congress Unhappy

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18 pallavighcnnibn

Updated: October 13, 2016, 11:33 PM IST
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New Delhi: Politics over surgical strikes escalated again on Thursday with Congress accusing the government and BJP of "lack of transparency" over the last-minute dropping of a planned briefing on surgical strikes at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Defence.

Two senior Congress members - Ambika Soni and Madhusudan Mistry - dubbing it accused committee chairman BC Khanduri of changing the agenda for the last moment.

"The decision not to brief the committee over surgical strikes under the garb of secrecy only amounts to 'lack of confidence' in the Members of Parliament, who are in the committee and who are bound by the oath of secrecy. This position is absolutely unacceptable to us," they said in a joint statement.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is also a member of the Standing Committee, however, differed saying the decision should be left to the Army.

The statement by Mistry and Soni also said: "We are deeply disappointed over the last minute change of agenda," they said, adding "We demand that the original agenda of the forthcoming Committee meeting should be maintained and also defence officials inform the Committee about the number of surgical strikes carried out since 2004."

The DGMO was expected to brief the committee but now that has been changed as the new agenda mentions discussion on proxy war.

Committee chairman Khanduri told CNN-News18 that agendas can be changed at the last minute and if the Congress has a problem it could be discussed separately.

"It is our firm belief that the officials should brief the standing committee members as they briefed the leaders of the opposition parties on the above said issues."

They insisted it's high time the attitude of the defence officials towards the standing committee members "change for the better" and committee is informed of the "shortcomings" the forces are facing in combating adversaries on borders,"the Congress leaders'statement further said

They said this is not the first such instance and the agenda of such meetings has been changed earlier too.

They complained that it's unfortunate that they come to know through newspaper reports of the shortage of arms and ammunition to the Special Forces who carried out surgical strikes , but the army officials are not ready to discuss or answer queries to be raised in the meeting of Standing Committee Members.

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