After Congress’ Protests, Parliamentary Panel Briefed on Strikes

The briefing was held after the Congress said on Thursday it was cancelled at the last moment.

2 min read
(Photo: Lijumol Joseph/<b>The Quint</b>)

The parliamentary standing committee on defence was briefed on Friday about the surgical strikes in PoK by Vice Chief of the Army Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat, sources said.

The Vice Chief of the army briefed the panel for around half an hour, said a member, adding that the information provided was all that is already in the public domain.

The members did not ask any questions after the briefing, the source added.

The briefing came after complaints from the Congress on Thursday night that the agenda of the meeting was changed at the last moment and a briefing on the surgical strikes was cancelled.

The opposition furiously asserted that this step only goes to show the lack of confidence the Modi government has in the members of Parliament.

However, the government – while shrugging off such allegations – said that the Congress is unnecessarily creating an issue, as the briefing was not even officially on the agenda.

Cancelling of the Meeting “Highly Unacceptable”, Says Congress

The alleged last-minute dropping of the planned briefing on the surgical strikes at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Defence on Friday was dubbed by senior Congress leaders as "highly unacceptable". The unimpressed opposition had pitched for bringing back the original agenda.

The decision not to brief the committee over surgical strikes under the garb of secrecy only amounts to lack of confidence in the members of Parliament, who are in the committee and who are bound by the oath of secrecy. This position is absolutely unacceptable to us.
Congress General Secretaries Ambika Soni and Madhusudan Mistry

The original agenda for the day indicated that army officials would brief the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the strikes and then discuss the army’s quickly-depleting war wastage reserve (WWR).

Mistry said they had written to the Committee's Chairman BC Khanduri telling him that the move is "highly unacceptable".

"We are deeply disappointed over the last-minute change of agenda," they said, adding: "We demand that the original agenda of the forthcoming Committee meeting should be maintained and also defence officials inform the Committee the number of surgical strikes carried out since 2004."

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. (Photo: PTI)
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. (Photo: PTI)

Change of Agenda is Government’s Prerogative: NDA

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is also a member of the Standing Committee, however, differed saying the decision should be left to the army.

Speaking to CNNNews18, he further added that members of Parliament are not obliged to know the secrets of the state, adding that its firmly the prerogative of the government to decide if it wants to share these or not.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS and CNNNews18)

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