Get your messaging right: panel tells government

Get your messaging right: panel tells government

New Delhi, DHNS: Parliamentarians on Friday asked the Modi government to get its messaging right when it came to dealing with Pakistan, amid apprehensions that India was found lagging in the perception game in the aftermath of the air strikes at Balakot to avenge the Pulwama terror attack.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale briefed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs on India-Pakistan relations in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attacks and the subsequent air strikes to destroy terror camps in Balakot.

Topping the concerns of Parliamentarians were reports about US President Donald Trump's intervention to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan and the perception that Islamabad had the upper hand when it offered to defuse tensions through talks and release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

“The Armed Forces have done an excellent job, but these achievements of destroying the terror infrastructure should be adequately ventilated in the global arena,” a member of the committee told DH.

“I cannot speak for Donald Trump,” Gokhale is understood to have told the Committee when asked about the US president's remarks in Hanoi about “some reasonably decent news” coming on India, Pakistan tensions.

Gokhale, who was assisted by officials of the ministry of external affairs, informed the members about the air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan as also about the retaliation by the western neighbour.

At the outset, all members of the parliamentary panel, chaired by Congress member Shashi Tharoor, hailed the action of the Indian Air Force and called it a “heroic job”.

The foreign secretary told the panel that the attempt by Pakistan Air Force to target military installations in India was unsuccessful as it was thwarted by the IAF which lost a jet in the fight back.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a member of the committee but was not present in the meeting on Friday.

“Most of the briefing that we got was already in the public domain, but we had certain clarifications,” another member said.

Earlier, Gokhale shared in detail the sequence of events of the last few days till the capture of the Indian pilot.

The purpose of the meeting, described as good and constructive, was part of “parliamentary accountability” and the ministry gave a briefing in this regard, a member said.