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Imran Khan’s Statement Could be Congress’ Ploy: Sitharaman

Sitharaman also said the veterans’ letter to President on politicisation of the armed forces has lost credibility

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Politics
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Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement that there might be a better chance of India-Pakistan peace talks if the BJP is voted back to power, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that it could be a ploy by the Congress.

“They (Congress) went there (Pakistan) saying, ‘Help us oust Modi’. I wonder whether this is also a part of the scheme of things which have been put by the Congress. I don’t know what to make of this, honestly,” she said in an interview to news agency ANI on Wednesday, 17 April.
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‘Army Veterans’ Letter Has Lost Credibility’

The defence minister also said that the army veterans’ letter to the President on the issue of politicisation of the armed forces has lost credibility after some of them denied involvement.

"It is well within every veteran's prerogative to contact the Supreme Commander. But the problem is, especially when it is election time, all of us will have to be conscious we don't give rise to questions of credibility and in the letter even if one individual says, 'I haven't signed it', my worry is that credibility of whole appeal is lost," she said.

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Defence Minister on Balakot Strikes

Sitharaman also denied that the international media has not subscribed to India’s explanation of the Balakot strikes.

“Has there been any one government questioning us and therefore staying away from extending their support saying your claims are not verifiable?” she said adding that it was Pakistan, and not India who claimed the Balakot attack.

Further, reacting to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s claim that India was planning another attack between 16 and 20 April, she said: “I don't know where he got this date, so good luck to him. God knows whatever it is but it sounded very fanciful for me and amusing.”

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On Acquisition of Weapons

When asked about the emergency powers given to armed forces to buy equipment worth Rs 300 crore, she said that the emergency powers were given to the Army after the Uri attack itself.

“We had given this delegation of powers for Armed forces to choose what they want to buy in terms of ammunition,” she said, adding that the forces are free to purchase more ammunition after the Pulwama attack.

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