Modi govt gets into damage control mode, interprets foreign secretary’s comments on surgical strikes

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The Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Tuesday moved with lightening speed to control the damage caused by its foreign secretary S Jaishankar because of his ‘confessions’ on surgical strikes during the Manmohan Singh government.

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Jaishankar’s comments, as reported by PTI, had sharply contradicted both PM Modi and his defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, on claims that 29 September’s surgical strikes across the LoC were the first in independent India.

After Janta Ka Reporter reported the contradiction and how it had caused considerable embarrassment to Modi, the central government has now sought to interpret Jaishankar’s statement reportedly made before a parliamentary committee.

“What FS said is that the key issue is that we went public after conducting the surgical strikes which conveyed a politico-military message. Whether any previous crossings had been done only the army would know. But it is irrelevant anyway because there was no message,” sources in the government said were quoted by PTI.

The clarification about what transpired at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs, which was briefed on the strikes by Jaishankar, came after some opposition MPs quoted him having said the army had carried out “target specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too but this was for the first time the government had gone public about it.

Jaishankar gave this information to the Parliamentary Committee on Exernal Affairs when he was specifically asked by MPs whether surgical strikes have been done in the past.

“Professionally done, target-specific, limited calibre counter-terrorist operations” have been carried out across the LoC in the past too, but this is for the first time that the government has made it public,” according to sources present in the meeting.

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