Chennai, Mar 5: Terming the IAF air strike as not a 'military action' as there were no damages to civilians, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the number of terrorists killed in the IAF strike at Balakot in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, was one and same provided by the Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who did not give any numbers.
Responding to questions on BJP President Amit Shah's claim that 250 terrorists were killed in the Balakot air strikes, she told reporters that the Foreign Secretary has not given any figure about the number of terrorists killed in the air strike. 'The government's position on the number of terrorists killed (in Balakot air strike) was the same as the one provided by the Foreign Secretary, who “didn’t give a figure” in his statement', Ms Nirmala said.
“The Foreign Secretary gave a statement...he didn’t give a figure. That is the Government of India’s position', she added. After the air strike, Mr Gokhale said the non-military and pre-emptive strike on JeM camp in Balakot killed “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.
Ms Nirmala's Sitharaman's remarks on casualties of terrorists comes in the backdrop of Opposition parties demanding details of the number of deaths of terrorists in the Balakot strike and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa yesterday clarifying that 'we don't count the human casualties and that the central government would provide the details on the casualty figures.'
'We count what targets we have hit or not hit," he said. Ms Nirmala said India went for a pointed hit after ascertaining that terror attacks were being planned from there (Balakot).
Stating it was ensured that no civilian was affected in the attack, the Defence Minister said the IAF strikes at Balakot was “not a military action”.
'We, including the previous governments, have been consistently saying that terrorism is emanating from Pakistan. This has been going on for a long time. These terrorists are coming from Pakistan to attack us. Not only us, the UPA government too had been giving proof to Pakistan on terror training camps in Pakistan and that we should not come under attack from them', she added.
Dismissing Pakistan's claims at the global level that they were also victims of terror, she said Pakistan has not dismantled any terror camp.
Stating that proof of involvement of Pakistani handlers was given to the Pakistan government after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, she said Pakistan have had not brought the perpetrators to justice before the courts unlike India.
'We took these terrorists through a proper legal process step-by-step and punished those who attacked our country. Pakistan has never punished any terrorists through its courts,” she asserted. UN