New Delhi, April 17: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday attacked Pakistan over the refusal of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Balakot air strikes. During an interview to news agency ANI, when asked about 'why is international media not willing to believe India's explanation on Balakot', Sitharaman said that there was no government in the world who questioned India over the strikes. Sitharaman stated, “Has there been any one government questioning us & therefore staying away from extending their support "saying your claims are not verifiable?” She further added, “In any case it is not we who claimed it, subsequently Pakistanis themselves claimed the Balakot attack. “
Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that India and Pakistan have better chance of settling Kashmir issue only if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins, the defence minister termed it as an election gimmick. She said, “Such statements come around elections in India&also there have been eminent Congress leaders who've gone there to seek help 'Modi hatane ke liye madad karo business.” Nirmala Sitharaman Doubts Imran Khan’s Promise Post Pulwama Strike, Asks What Steps Pakistan Took After India Sent Dossiers on 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks.
Reacting to the letter written by armed forces veteran against politicising defence forces, Sitharaman said that because of political will, strong actions could have been possible. She stated, “We don't want to politicise but if because of political will some actions have been taken up and some actions became possible now, does that mean governments never speak about what decisions they take?” The Defence Minister further added, “After all credible professional force does its job dispassionately, I fully concede that. But without political will, without freedom to act when they think fit, would it have been possible?” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Lauds HAL-Built Tejas, Says 'Indian Aircraft Better Than China-Pakistan's JF-17'.
Sitharaman also took a dig at Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for claiming India will strike between 16-20 April. The Defence Minister said that she did not know from where he got the dates. She added, “God knows whatever it is, but it sounded very fanciful for me and amusing.”