Hitting out at Pakistan for dismissing evidence provided by India in connection with the Pathankot terror attack, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday accused the neighbouring country of “pretending to sleep” and not being serious about the probe.
The minister also ruled out allowing the Pakistani Special Investigation Team into the Pathankot air base.
Noting it is a matter that concerns the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs, Parrikar in an interview to a news channel said, “If somebody pretends to fall asleep, it’s difficult to find out.”
He was asked about Pakistan’s claim that the evidence given by India is not concrete enough.
Told that Pakistan has also claimed that Pakistani mobile numbers given by India were “unregistered and had fake identities”, Parrikar responded, “Fake identity and non-registration indicates connivance of some. You have to investigate and find out who gave numbers that are not registered.”
He said that the Indian government has been continuously giving evidence relating to so many attacks to Pakistan. “If someone is serious, he can definitely act,” he said.
Asked whether the Pakistani SIT would be allowed inside the Pathankot base, the minister said he was not aware of any such request from them.
“As far as air bases and defence installations are concerned, no one can enter them without permission of the Defence Ministry,” he said.
Asked again, he said whatever information they need, it can be provided by NIA through the External Affairs Ministry.
“The incident has happened here and we will investigate what has happened here. What we are asking them to investigate is the role of their people in their country,” he said.
The Defence Minister also said he is “hurt” by the US’ decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
On the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme, Parrikar said the government will differentiate between voluntary retirement for better prospects and premature retirement in the interest of the army.
He said that a judicial committee has been set up to look into the issue of premature retirement.
On the resentment among armed forces on the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, Parrikar said all the legitimate concerns of the armed forces would be addressed.
Parrikar also said the ministry plans to cut the ‘slack and flab’ of the military. However, he made it clear that the “effective component of armed forces will not be compromised”.