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Defence credibility caught in the cross-fire of politics

Defence credibility caught in the cross-fire of politics
Highlights

Centre’s obduracy and silence in providing details about the surgical strikes has expectedly assumed political overtones with innuendos questioning the authenticity and veracity of the claims made by the government and the armed forces.  

Centre’s obduracy and silence in providing details about the surgical strikes has expectedly assumed political overtones with innuendos questioning the authenticity and veracity of the claims made by the government and the armed forces.

The clamor and cacophony does provoke apprehensions about the implications that such insinuations would have on sensitive issues related to national security and defence. So, the question is whether the raging political exchanges are justified and warranted considering the covert nature of such operations?

The armed forces and the government are entitled to keep such operations a secret on the premise that it exposes military strategies and methods used in such attacks. But, what proved to be unpalatable to the opposition parties was the chest thumping – as Prime Minister Modi himself described it - by the ruling political establishment.

The surgical strikes which won accolades from people across the country have now become a contentious issue with the NDA attempting to score brownie points. The opposition after initially going with the public mood and praising the strikes suddenly realized that this achievement would be bandied about by the BJP to garner the support of the electorate in Uttar Pradesh.

Thus, the demand by the opposition seeking the government to divulge the evidence of the strikes, though belated, was only to be expected. The Congress accused the ruling BJP of using the strikes for political gains.

Some Congress leaders have gone to the extent that they would consider the strikes false until the government provided some kind of proof. In a statement that attributed political intent on the part of the BJP, former home minister and the Congress leader P Chidambaram pointed out that major surgical strikes were carried out in 2013 but the then Congress government chose not to publicise it.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal refrained from imputing any political objectives on the part of the BJP while seeking proof of the surgical strikes. But reading between the lines, the message was quite clear. The entire issue marked by political slanging raises some pertinent questions.

Should evidence of the surgical strikes be made public? Is it not a fact that suppression of information will only result in disinformation? Lastly by politicizing the issue, our politicos, instead of presenting a unified stance against an enemy country, have belittled an issue of national security and defence.

Such political mongering would inevitably culminate in doubts being raised about the credibility and credentials of our armed forces. The situation demands that politicians – from both the opposition and ruling political establishment – at this juncture control their propensity to have a jab at each other and observe restraint and sobriety. Otherwise, the discord within would only act as an impetus to Pakistan propaganda and its objectives.

There are myriad issues for politicians to bicker over. National security, military actions, strategic affairs are certainly do not add to such list. Political affiliations cannot be allowed to prevail over national identity. At least, people should not be carried away by partisan parochialism.

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