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VK Singh Defends Amit Shah’s Claim, Says 250 ‘Might Have Died’ in Balakot Air Strikes

Opposition parties had on Monday latched on to BJP chief Amit Shah's claim of 250 casualties in the Indian Air Force's air strike in Pakistan's Balakot to ask how he got such top secret information.

News18.com

Updated:March 5, 2019, 4:32 PM IST
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VK Singh Defends Amit Shah’s Claim, Says 250 ‘Might Have Died’ in Balakot Air Strikes
File photo of Union Minister VK Singh.
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Ranchi: Union minister V K Singh on Tuesday trashed Congress demand for proof on the Balakot terror strikes as "waste of time" and on the opposition party's quest regarding casualty figures, he said it was not a "game of marbles".

The Minister of State for External Affairs said no proof is given about action by the forces and asked whether anybody had got proof during wars since 1947.

Seeking to put the government on the back foot, opposition parties had on Monday latched on to BJP chief Amit Shah's claim of 250 casualties in the Indian Air Force's air strike in Pakistan's Balakot to ask how he got such top secret information.

On the varying casualty figures in the Balakot strikes, Singh told reporters, "One way is to go there and count and come back. Secondly, what the information you have, you can assess it (figure) and that number is told to the people. Exact figure will be known only when you are there.

"This is not a game of marbles. This is a serious matter. Any action by the forces, no proof is given," he asserted.

Asked about his reaction on Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh describing the February 14 Pulwama terror attacks an "accident", the former Army chief said, "With due respect, I would like to ask Digvijaya Singh, whether Rajiv Gandhi's killing was a terror act or an accident?"

Lauding the Narendra Modi government, Singh said the air strikes on terror training camps inside Pakistan showed the decision-making strength of India.

We have never taken such a decision since 1947, going deep inside (striking in Pakistan), which is a big decision. It showed India's state of mind in the fight against terrorism. A big decisive turn has come and has come under a leadership, he said.

The MoS, who is here to interact with different sections of people to include their desires and thoughts in the BJP's poll manifesto, dismissed Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Digvijay Singh's demand for proof on the Balakot strikes as "valueless and waste of time".

Sibal had on Monday cited international media claiming there was no proof of militant losses at Balakot in Pakistan and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must answer.

To a query on PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti making a jibe at Air India's 'Jai Hind' order, the former Army chief said he never trusted the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister as he knew her when he was posted in Srinagar and Avantipur in 2004 and 2006. "Neither believe her nor take her seriously," Singh said.

An official advisory of the national carrier had on Monday said that Air India crew will have to say "Jai Hind" after every flight announcement "with much fervour".

Reacting on the news, Mehbooba Tuesday tweeted, "Little surprise that with general elections around the corner, the josh of patriotism hasn't even spared the skies."

Citing how America was 'united' when Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed, Singh said, "Such unison produces the required impact as the enemy will try not to talk in unison. So, we want that the entire country should be united.

"I felt the whole country was united (post Pulwama and Balakot air strike). Later on, some discordant views emerged, may be because elections are approaching," he added.

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