Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday claimed that no 'surgical strike' had taken place during the tenure of the UPA government. He was speaking at an interactive session in Mumbai organised by Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS), a think tank.
"The credit for the actions on September 29 goes 100 per cent to the armed forces, but it was the government which took the decision," said the minister, referring to the strikes conducted by the Indian Army on the terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
The minister said that he had been in office for almost two years now and no surgical strike like the one on September 29 had taken place in past. "I have been defence minister for nearly two years now and from whatever I have learnt, there was no surgical strike anytime earlier,” he stressed.
According to him, what had happened must be a punitive strike by the border action teams. It could be a localised response at local commander level in which the unit concerned takes punitive action against the opponent and the information is shared subsequently, he said.
"The credit (for the LoC operation) also goes to all 127 crore Indians who have always supported the army. My share in this credit is as small as 1/127 crores ," said Parrikar. "If we had to take political credit out of it, the defence minister would have made the announcement of the strike. But, the announcement was made by the DGMO."
The minister also said that the relations with China had improved a lot during the last two years. "The transgressions along the border have reduced significantly. "
Parrikar said that he simply could not sleep on on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 when the surgical strike was underway. "Had anything gone slightly wrong or had anyone been left behind, the entire blame would have fallen on this government. I could hardly sleep that night," he said.
"We don't take credit for the surgical strike, but everyone should realise that it is the government which takes decisions. And, the government needs to be cheered for taking bold decisions," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended a hand of friendship to our neighbour, he said. "But that was probably construed as a sign of our weakness by some. India told them on September 29 that we would not tolerate anymore ," said the minister.