Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday India will ‘surely’ teach a lesson to the masterminds of the Pathankot airbase attack and admitted that the terrorists were probably inside the airbase even before intelligence about an impending strike was received.
Noting that India ‘is losing much of its patience’, Parrikar said the country will give tit-for-tat. “Eent ka jawaab patthar se denge (we will reply to bricks with stones),” he said.
Parrikar said the ‘pushers’ of the attacks were in Pakistan, refusing to disclose further details.
“You have to plan. Here I have named individual and organisation, and has not named any country, because if it’s against a country, then it means war. We want to teach a lesson to the individual. Where and when, that will be our choice,” Parrikar said to a TV channel.
Asked why India has not launched a counter-attack against terror camps in Pakistan after the Pathankot incident, Parrikar was quoted in a press release as saying that the time will be chosen by India.
“How do you know where we should strike and where we should not? Such things are not disclosed in public. We must have the capability. And, Pakistan... I will not name any country... They take sort of fights with us by sending terrorists. Such people need to be taught a lesson. There is no question mark in it. But when, how and at what time, should be decided based on our convenience,” he said.
Parrikar said there has been fresh information that some of the Pathankot attackers were inside the airbase even before the intelligence was received.
“Some people have inferred wrongly about the gaps that I had mentioned. The airbase has a 25-kilometre periphery, and they should not have entered, but we got advance information only 10-12 hours earlier. Now more information has come, saying probably they (the attackers) were in before the intelligence was received by us. Anyway that will be investigated by agencies. That is the gap which I was saying,” he said.
Told that the terrorists got trained at a Pakistani air base, Parrikar said he can’t reveal the details because ‘as we say, no one tells the world what you do and what happens inside a bedroom. So in such operations, nothing is revealed to the world, but we will do it surely’.
Asked why India was not carrying out cross-border strike against terror camps as it did against the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang rebels ‘inside Myanmar’, Parrikar said he would not disclose much in such matters, otherwise ‘the surprise element will be gone’.
“Once it happens, you will come to know about it. In the Northeast, those who attacked our 6 Dogra (regiment)...we didn’t tell them what we were going to do,” he was quoted as saying.
Talking about the Myanmar incident, the defence minister said he can’t say the exact spot where the Army did the operation.
Asked why the army was not carrying out cross-border strike as the United States did to kill Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, Parrikar said the US took four to five years to locate Osama and to clear their doubts about his location.
“It took another one and a half years to plan the operation. When the US planned an operation inside Iran, their helicopter crashed in the desert and they faced humiliation. I am only saying that the operation that we plan, or whatever we are doing, I am not saying against Pakistan or any camp, there should be perfect planning, and it has to take care of everything. Your information should be perfect. Everybody has general information, and specific information plays a more important role,” he said.
Parrikar said that the counter-terror operation in Pathankot was a success as the soldiers were able to corner the attackers and kill all of them.
“It was not easy. Six people, who had come with very clear intention that they will lose their lives, can do actually many damaging things which we did not allow, that is the success part of it. But this will not stop here. Why should we be defensive? People who sent them here have to be taught a lesson,” he said.
“Because they will not understand unless pain is inflicted on them... But here I am adding a clause, I will not disclose where, when and how... It’s our choice,” he said.
He said this has already been achieved at a different level. He said the terrorists came to Punjab because in Jammu and Kashmir the army has neutralised them to a large extent.
“The ratio of our losses compared to killing of terrorists is widening quite big now. Earlier, it was 1:1, now it is 1:4, and even that should not happen. It should come lower than that. So, we have initiated many counter measures there,” he said.