Terrorism must be treated as war, says Indian minister

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Express archive photo

Accusing Pakistan of fomenting terror in India, Parrikar says ‘when they failed in conventional wars, as they failed in 1965 and 1971, the enemy resorted to a thousand cuts, trying to bleed India’

Small incidents of terrorism must be “treated as a war”, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told parliament during a discussion on the Pathankot incident, the Indian Express reported on Thursday.

Parrikar told Lok Sabha on Wednesday that “our enemies cannot go scot-free”.

“This has to be treated as a war. Even small incidents of terrorism of this nature have to be treated as a war… You cannot have a running commentary about such operations on television etc. This puts security forces in danger,” he said.

“We are definitely in the process to ensure that our enemies don’t go scot-free,” he said.

“When they failed in conventional wars, as they failed in 1965 and 1971, the enemy resorted to a thousand cuts, trying to bleed India…. Pathankot has to be taken as a part of asymmetric war,” Parrikar said.

Clarifying that he had never tweeted about the Pathankot operation being over prematurely, Parrikar said, “There was, probably, a small error which was immediately corrected.”

On January 2, a tweet from Home Minister Rajnath Singh said “all five terrorists have been neutralised”, and it was later withdrawn.

Parrikar said a total of six alleged terrorists were killed. “Using all these weapons and also Air Force helicopters, finally, around 5.30, one terrorist was killed by DSC jawan and the remaining three were eliminated there. So, at that moment, at 3 o’clock, the same day, I had conducted a meeting and we had come to a conclusion that there were probably more terrorists. That is why the operation was kept on. Next day at 11 o’clock, the other two terrorists were engaged when they started firing,” the minister said.

He was replying after opposition MPs attacked the PM, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Parrikar for the government’s handling of the terror attack. They also questioned the government’s policy on Pakistan.

Stating that intelligence build-up cannot take place overnight, Parrikar referred to the Technical Services Division (TDS), a secret intelligence unit that was set up by MoS, External Affairs, and former Army Chief, General VK Singh.

“Intelligence which was developed, whether it is deep assets or the attempt of TDS formation by General VK Singh, fell to political aspirations, to political policies and political point-scoring. It is not only Ishrat Jahan,” Parrikar said.

“I can quote many instances when military intelligence has been sacrificed at the altar of political goals,” he added.