Stop writing love letters to Pakistan and give Pakistan an answer in the language it understands: Sushil Kumar Shinde

Shinde 1174514f Thu, 01 Dec 2016

Stop writing love letters to Pakistan and give Pakistan an answer in the language it understands: Sushil Kumar Shinde

“Shri Narendra Modi and BJP were voted to power by people of India in May, 2014 on the solemn promise of protecting ‘National Security’ and with the oft repeated slogan, ”, “Bahut hua seema par vaar abki baar Modi Sarkar”. In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Shri Narendra Modi bitterly criticized Congress-led UPA by mocking us to, ‘stop writing love letters to Pakistan and give Pakistan an answer in the language it understands’. In fact, Shri Narendra Modi held a press conference in Mumbai amidst 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and criticized the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. One of the principal electoral rhetoric of Shri Narendra Modi always was that, ”, “Bam ke dhamakoen aur golion ki awaaz mein Pakistan se baat nahi ho sakti”. Last 19 months of Modi government has seen 900 border ceasefire violations on Indo-Pakistan Border with 19 jawans and 34 civilians having lost their lives. Even Border Security Force (BSF) has admitted that there have been 35% hike in infiltrations from across Pakistan Border in last one year. 

There have been three major terrorist attacks from Pakistan in last six months, two in Punjab and one in Jammu & Kashmir. First attack took place on 27th July, 2015 when three Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked in Dinanagar, Gurdaspur, Punjab leading to supreme sacrifice of seven people including an SP before they could be neutralized. Second attack came on 5th August, 2015 when two Pakistani terrorists attacked a BSF convoy in Udhampur, J&K. Two brave BSF jawans lost their lives before one terrorist was neutralized and another arrested. On the Ist day of January 2016, six Pakistani terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad committed a well planned and dastardly attack by killing civilians and storming Pathankot Air Base in Punjab, which is one of our principal first lines of defense with key strategic assets. In an operation that lasted for over 100 hours from Ist to 4th January 2016, seven security personnel have laid down their lives in the counter terror operation and over two dozens have been injured seriously. Six days after Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s sudden visit to Pakistan to greet Pakistani Prime Minister, Shri Nawaz Sharief on his birthday on December 25, 2015, a handful of Pakistani terrorists have dealt a severe blow to India’s National Security establishment and counter terror strategy. 

This is an attack on India’s sovereignty, honor and integrity and reflects a clear-cut failure of ‘political leadership’ of PM Modi as also ‘command and control structure’ to fight terrorism. It is the unparalleled valour, resilience and sacrifice of our security forces, which neutralized this despicable terrorist attack. As our security forces fought to foil one of the biggest terrorist attacks post 26/11 Mumbai attack between Ist and 4th January, 2016; entire Nation watched in shock, as Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi was preoccupied propagating ‘yoga’. An outof- loop Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, who was in Assam at the time of Pathankot operation, first declared the operation successful through a tweet at 7 PM on 2nd January, 2016 before deleting it thereafter. Defence Minister, Shri Manohar Parrikar was, as always, preoccupied in his home State of Goa. Only on the 5th day i.e. 5th January, 2016 yesterday; Defence Minister took time to visit Pathankot, made the most insensitive statement of six out of seven casualties having been suffered by Armed forces on account of bad luck, admitted gaps in security and issued a wishy washy statement ordering an inquiry, rather than owning up responsibility and making full disclosure to people. All that people got from Modi government in this hour of crisis was fake bravado, incompetent and immature responses, rather than a concerted anti-terror strategy to counter blow terrorism as also its perpetrators. There are numerous unanswered questions, which are hovering around the collective conscience of people of India that Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi must answer in the aftermath of Pathankot terror attack:- 1. Why are BJP government and PM Modi shying away from calling Pathankot Air Base attackers as ‘Pakistani terrorists’, more so when they were loaded with fire arms, explosives, clothes, shoes and logistic support from Pakistan with ‘handlers located in Pakistan’ as reflected by telephone transcripts? If so, why has Modi government not lodged a formal protest till date with Pakistan government, summoned their High Commissioner and taken a decision to place the matter before ‘International Fora’, so as to expose and isolate Pakistan as a State that is abetting and permitting its soil to be used for anti- India terror activities? 

Why did it take Pakistani PM, Shri Nawaz Sharif five days to call Indian Prime Minister despite overwhelming evidence qua citizenship identity, origin and handling of Pathankot Air Base attackers from Pakistan? 2. Why did Prime Minister Modi or his Home/Defence Minister not take control of the entire Pathankot operation putting a clearcut ‘command and control structure’ on the ground to lead the operation? Why was Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) not called immediately by Prime Minister? Why were Home/Defence Ministers fumbling and deleting tweets qua Pathankot operation after being contradicted by the Home Secretary? Does it show a definite lack of coordination in the Union Cabinet even in tackling an issue as serious as terrorism? 3. Will PM/BJP government explain as to who is responsible for grave security lapse as terrorists managed to reach Pathankot Air Base despite advance intelligence alert and reporting of prior incident? As per DGP Punjab, Punjab Police received information relating to SP, Sulvinder Singh’s kidnapping and car snatching at 3.23 AM on the night intervening 31st December and Ist January. According to him, ADGP (Law & Order), Punjab was asked to rush to Pathankot by 7 AM on Ist January. He further states that Government of India was then informed. Despite this, terrorists breached into Pathankot Air Base on Ist January. 

As per Air Marshal, Shri Anil Khosla, Director-General, Air Operation; first contact with the terrorists was made on 2nd January at 3.30 AM in the morning. It is, thus, clear that a period of nearly 20-24 hours lapsed between the first incident committed by terrorists and the first contact with terrorists in the Air Base. No one has explained the reason for this fatal lapse of time in tackling terrorists. 4. Pathankot has India’s biggest Army cantonment housing two Infantry Divisions and two Armored Brigades, comprising of nearly 50000 Army troops. Moot question is as to why were the 50,000 Army troops stationed near Pathankot Air Base not used by the government to cordon off the Air Base as there was a prior intelligence input after SP of Punjab Police was car jacked by terrorists in Army fatigue. In reply, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar chose to shift blame by saying, “Army cannot do civil duty…….. The area is so complicated and had a difficult terrain and blocking roads are not Army’s responsibility”. Is the Defence Minister then blaming the Union Home Minister and Punjab Police for letting the terrorists infiltrate and enter the Air Base? Net consequence of this lapse was that Defence Security Corps (DSC) jawans took most of the casualties and National Security Guard (NSG) took unacceptable losses. 5. Why couldn’t the Akali Dal-BJP led Punjab government act on intelligence and operational input that it received at 3.34 AM on the night intervening 31st December and Ist January? 

One is forced to wonder whether it is drug linked terror and whether infiltrating terrorists used the same route, modus operandi and logistic support that drug traffickers use in active connivance with people in the administration of Punjab.” 

Statement by Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Union Home Minister & Member of Congress Working Committee, on 6 January, 2016