A parliamentary panel on Friday suggested that the government tell the global community more extensively and emphatically the reasons behind India’s targeted attack on terror camps in Pakistan.
The suggestion came during a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs which was briefed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. Top officials of the External Affairs Ministry were also present.
The meeting comes after India’s attack on terror camps in the neighbouring country, followed by Pakistan’s aerial incursion.
According to sources, the members of the panel, headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, suggested that the government tell the international community more extensively and emphatically that it was not an attack on Pakistan but a targeted attack on terror camps and terrorism.
Foreign Secretary Gokhale briefed the members of the parliamentary panel on the sequence of events from the air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan to how the Indian forces foiled Pakistan’s aerial incursion by shooting down one of their F-16 fighter jets in a dogfight which also led to the loss of one of India’s MiG-21 Bison fighter jets, sources said.
All members of the panel hailed the action of the Indian Air Force and called it a “heroic job”.
Sources added that Gokhale was also asked about the third-party intervention by the US and the UAE in bringing back captured Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, to which he responded that he “could not speak for US President Donald Trump”.
Trump had on Thursday said that the US had been “going at it” and had been involved in trying to have India and Pakistan de-escalate the matter. The US President had said that there is “some reasonably decent news” and hopefully it’s coming to an end.
After a prolonged delay, the pilot crossed over into India at around 9:20 pm on Friday.
However, Gokhale did not comment on evidence related to the IAF air strike.
Air Vice-Marshal RGK Kapoor had said on Thursday that although the jets hit the intended targets, it would be “premature” to assess the extent of casualties or damage caused.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is also a member of the panel, was not present at the meeting.
Sources said that the foreign secretary also informed the members about how India got the support of the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the issue where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is a guest of honour.
A member present in the meeting called the meeting “good and constructive” and said the purpose of the meeting was part of “parliamentary accountability”.
India and Pakistan engaged in aerial hostilities along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since 1971 on Wednesday after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed over 44 Central Reserve Police Force troopers in Kashmir.
The Jaish-e-Muhammad had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to respond to the terror attack.