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Armed forces were ready to retaliate after 26/11, but govt kept mum: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Hyderabad, Mar 24: Stepping up the attack on the UPA government over the issue of national security, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said she "enough reasons to believe" that the armed forces were ready to retaliate after 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, but the then Congress-led government did not take a call.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Speaking at an event in Hyderabad, the Defence Minister lashed out at the opposition parties over the politicisation of the Balakot air strike which were carried out after Pulwama terrorist attack.

"If only a similar deterrent action was taken after Mumbai attack... and I have enough reasons to believe that armed forces did tell the govt at that time, 'if you want us to do something, we are ready but we want you to take the call'," she said, according to reports.

On the morning of February 26, the Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000 fighter jets bombed JeM camps deep inside Pakistani territory - Balakot. Pakistan's Director-General, Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) Asif Ghafoor did acknowledge that IAF fighters did cross into their territory. India struck inside Pakistani territory for the first time since 1971. It was also the first time that nuclear power had conducted an airstrike on another nuclear power's territory.

[Sam Pitroda questions death toll in Balakot air strike]

But what transpired in India after that was political war of words. Opposition parties raised many questions and doubts about the airstrike. Some even demanded that the government reveal the exact number terrorists killed in the strike.

[Air strike at Balakot hit four JeM buildings, SAR evidence suggests]

In fact, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today said that the aerial attack was carried out to "rebuild Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image after he lost on several fronts back home".

Earlier, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan also resonated the same views and said that the votes are being fetched in the name of surgical strike and lives of the Army jawans.

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